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Republican proposal to preemptively sanction Russia for Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline met with opposition

Democrats in the US Senate blocked the Republican proposal for sanctions against Russia over the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, saying it did not help Ukraine and denied President Joe Biden “leverage” to deal with the Kremlin.

Moved by Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Senate Bill 3436 would have given the White House two weeks to impose travel restrictions, asset freezes and bans on doing business with U.S. companies for people involved in the gas pipeline from Russia to Germany.

Democrats hit back that sanctions would do nothing to stop Russia “invasion” Ukraine, which the U.S. Secret Service and the Biden administration have claimed for weeks to be imminent. Moscow rejected the request as “fake news”.

Although several Democrats voted in favor, Cruz’s bill did not get the 60 votes needed to pass.

Speaking against the bill in the Senate, Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) said the proposal was not about national security but “Provincial protectionism”, because its supporters came from states producing natural gas.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has publicly urged the Senate to pass the Cruz Bill, calling Nord Stream 2 a threat to his country. While Democrats broadly agreed, the party argued that the sanctions at this time, and in this particular form, were hurting Washington’s diplomacy in Europe.

Jeanne Shaheen (D-New Hampshire) said Cruz’s bill would be “Undermine the current diplomatic situation, which is absolutely critical” when dealing with Russia.

“This bill is not going to help Ukraine – it is designed to harm [Biden], “ said Chris Murphy (D-Connecticut).

Arguments against the Republican proposal mirrored talking points sent by the State Department and released by Politico on Thursday. The Biden administration has argued that sanctioning Nord Stream 2 at this time would deprive the White House of a “deterrent” and one “Credible leverage” facing Moscow. He also claimed that the sanctions against Germany would harm the United States’ relationship with the newly elected government.

Germany’s delay in approving the pipeline, the State Department said, had already caused gas prices to rise in the middle of a European winter, which only benefited Russian energy exports.

Democrats presented a counter-proposal that would sanction Russia as well as Nord Stream 2, but would only be adopted if the alleged “invasion” of Ukraine actually occurs. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Maryland), the architect of the original anti-Russian sanctions of the Magnitsky Law, predicted that the proposal could get between 95 and 99 votes.

“The only threat to Ukraine is Ukraine itself”: key takeaways from Moscow’s perspective on NATO-Russia negotiations

Thursday’s vote comes after the much-anticipated US-Russia security talks in Geneva, Switzerland, which focused on Ukraine. Russian diplomats this week met with representatives of the United States, NATO and the OSCE to discuss Moscow’s proposal for security in Europe, including legally binding guarantees that NATO would not expand. not Ukraine and Georgia. The US-led alliance rejected the offer outright.


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