US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday, that the United States will tighten the sanctions against Russian energy projects by canceling the exemptions granted to some of the companies involved in the “Nord Stream 2” and “Turk Stream” gas pipelines.
The United States has focused on trying to slow work on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline that reaches Germany, and this move is the latest move, although it doesn’t immediately lead to new sanctions.
Pompeo told a news conference that this was a “clear warning” to companies involved in the ongoing project where he might face sanctions under a law passed in 2017 aimed at deterring Russia, known as the (Anti-American Adversaries Through Sanctions Act).
Pompeo added: “Now get out of the project, or risk facing the consequences”.
Some European companies participating in the two projects benefited from the exemptions and were not subject to penalties, including Russian Gazprom company.
Pompeo rejected Moscow’s insistence that the two projects are a purely commercial matter.
The United States imposed sanctions on the “Nord Stream 2” project last year, directly targeting the construction of the underwater pipeline, and said that the pipeline would increase the European Union’s dependence on Russian gas.
The “Nordstream 2” line, which runs through the Baltic Sea from western Russia to northern Germany, will double the capacity of the already running Nord Stream pipeline.
The Turk Stream line transports gas from southern Russia through the black sea to Turkey and from there to Europe.
A Republican senator who is pushing for tougher measures against Russia, praised Pompeo but said he was planning new legislation in Congress to force the Trump administration to impose more sanctions.
“The action taken today confirms once again that there is a unified consensus between the two parties and the two houses of Congress (the House and Senate) and all branches of the United States government to ensure that the Putin pipeline doesn’t start operating”, Senator Ted Cruz said.