🇺🇸🇪🇺 [1] With Washington once again focusing on policy options to stop the Kremlin-backed NordStream2 pipeline this week, my attempt at a (hopefully thoughtful) thread to help provide context:
[2] The framing of NordStream2 sanctions has suddenly (and unfortunately) become partisan, but in fact, opposition to NS2 has been bipartisan since 2015, and support for sanctions has been led by Democrats and Republicans since 2017.
[3] The US has opposed #NordStream2 on bipartisan basis since 2015. Congress has passed both discretionary (2017 CAATSA) & mandatory (2019 & 2020 NDAA) sanctions to stop #NS2 on near unanimous basis. In 2016, VP Biden was first prominent senior official to publicly oppose NS2.
[4] The #NordStream2 sanctions bill language currently under consideration this week largely resembles language led by Democrat @RepMarcyKaptur, already passed on a bipartisan basis by the House in its NDAA bill draft last year, but removed from final bill.
[5] House Dem @RepMarcyKaptur called on Senate Dems to pass language similar to that currently considered:

“I urge final inclusion of mandatory #NordStream2 sanctions with an appropriate bipartisan Congressional waiver review process parallel to CAATSA.”

[6] Bipartisan group of 22 U.S. Reps called on Biden Admin to “fully sanction the NordStream2 pipeline and its operator Nord Stream AG, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Russia’s Gazprom” adding Congress voted to mandate NS2 sanctions 3 times already.

[7] Next, the narrative that Congressional sanctions are targeting German companies or the German government continues to crop up, but facts don’t back this up.
[8] Nord Stream 2 AG, the parent company of the #NordStream2 pipeline and primary Congressional sanctions target is *NOT* a German firm. It’s a Swiss-based entity 100% owned and operated by Kremlin-controlled Gazprom, a Russian state-owned-enterprise.
[9] Existing and proposed sanctions laws ensure, rightly, that German gov entities “not operating as business enterprise” are exempted. German regulators like BNetzA are not targeted. Aim is Russian state controlled entities.

[10] Next, the policy metrics of the July 2021 US-German joint statement continue to be overlooked as discussion moved to further Russian invasion. Central to that agreement was Germany seeking sanctions on Russia at EU level if Moscow weaponized energy.
[11] Berlin has not yet fulfilled its commitment under July US-German deal to seek sanctions on Russia at EU level should Russia weaponize energy, which Moscow has done multiple times since statement was issued. Berlin has not yet acknowledged Putin’s use of energy as weapon.
[12] Just today, the head of the International Energy Agency “accused Russia of throttling gas supplies to Europe at a time “of heightened geopolitical tensions” implying Moscow has manufactured an energy crisis for political ends.”

[13] This follows on over six months of Russia pressuring German regulator to rapidly certify #NordStream2 in exchange for taking steps to alleviate the EU gas crisis, which many experts describe as using energy as a weapon:

[14] Moscow this fall also weaponized energy when Kremlin-controlled “Gazprom offered Moldova new Gas Deal in Exchange for weaker EU ties” - again weaponizing energy for political ends:

[15] Further analysis on how Moscow has been overtly weaponizing energy, and Berlin’s non reaction failing to live up to 2021 US-Germany Joint Statement can be found here in my October analysis:

[16] Talking points published by @politico today reportedly sent to Senate by Admin claim “Germany is making good progress toward meeting” commitments from July 2021 deal, but Berlin hasn’t yet sought sanctions after months of Russia energy weaponization.

[17] The doc claims that sanctioning Nord Stream 2 AG would allow “Russia to benefit from higher prices while project is further delayed” but doesn’t point out Russia has declined to capitalize on high prices as its active withholding of gas to EU storages helped cause crisis.
[18] Document righty claims Europe’s gas prices “doubled between Aug and Oct” but omits the extent that Russia’s actions have contributed to this. It’s important to recall, NS2 not designed to bring *new* gas to EU so stopping it wouldn’t create market scarcity.
[19] NS2 not designed to bring significant new gas volumes to Germany & points West – design of NS2 onshore pipeline EUGAL only intends 9.9 of the 55 bcma capacity for that direction. Aim of the Kremlin project is to end gas transit via Ukraine & won’t help German climate action.
[20] This leads back to the current debate - sanctions on NS2 before or after a potential further Russian invasion of Ukraine. Of course, NS2 should not go forward if Russia further invaded Ukraine full stop, but which is a more effective deterrent:
[21] Russia currently relies on the Ukrainian pipeline network to get its gas to EU markets and if it fully destabilized Ukraine through further invasion, in absence of NS2, it would have to calculate a loss of market share in EU.
[22] If #NordStream2, however, came online, it would give Russia a technical alternative to sell its gas in EU markets whether or not Ukrainian route was available. While not the only deterrent, stopping NS2 now could possibly add another calculation to dissuade further invasion.
[23] Also NS2 sanctions in case of invasion, moves NS2 sanctions threshold from Russia using energy as weapon (per joint statement) to Russia invading Ukraine. Concerning if the explicit 🇺🇸-🇩🇪 deal metrics are forgotten if threshold moved to further 🇺🇦 invasion by Russia.
[24] Recent comments by Germany’s new Chancellor Scholz and a Senior SPD official also are concerning:
[25] This month, Chancellor Scholz “has called #NordStream2 a “private-sector undertaking” that should not be politicised.”

The project is being advanced by Nord Stream 2 AG is 100% owned by Kremlin-controlled #Gazprom.

[26] SPD General Secretary last week said #NordStream2 “should not be mixed up with responses to Russia's territorial controversies with Ukraine and human rights issues”

[27] That same Senior SPD official then doubled down on defense of Kremlin-controlled NordStream2 this week, saying:

“Everything in me resists the idea of conflicts being conjured up just to bury a controversial project”

[28] Also Transatlantic community broadly opposes #NordStream2. Not only Ukraine & CEE nations, but Nordics, UK, Canada, etc have publicly opposed. EU Parliament voted to STOP #NS2 multiple times in past 3 years by overwhelming majorities. #NS2 is a Kremlin, not EU, project.
[29] Ukrainian President and Prime Minister both publicly called on US Senate to vote to stop Kremlin-backed #NordStream2 pipeline on a bipartisan basis last weekend. Democratic and Republican senators passed three bills since 2017, two of them mandatory calling for NS2 sanctions
[30] This week a large group of Ukrainian civil society leaders call on Democratic and Republican Senators to urgently pass additional sanctions legislation to stop Kremlin’s #NordStream2 as Russia threatens further invasion.

[31] Finally it is good there is recognition in DC by both parties and across majority of EU that #NordStream2 remains a national security challenge, so with multiple US sanctions packages proposed, and EU legal process far from over, this saga is surely far from over.
[P.S.] This should go without saying, but it’s so often misstated that it bears a reminder:

#NordStream2 is a *natural gas* pipeline, not an oil pipeline!


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