State Department Ramps Up Sanctions Against Russia

The Biden administration on Friday said it was sanctioning a Russian vessel and two Russian individuals involved in the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement that the administration has submitted a report to Congress listing one Russian vessel and two Russians who will be sanctioned under the Protecting Europe’s Energy Security Act (PEESA) of 2019.

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“Today’s report is in line with the United States’ continuing opposition to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline and the U.S. Government’s continued compliance with PEESA, as amended,” Blinken said.

With the latest announcement, the Biden administration has now identified seven people and 16 entities to be subject to sanctions for their involvement in the pipeline. The names of the individuals and vessel newly sanctioned were not made public.

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However, the Biden administration has waived sanctions on the company overseeing the construction of the pipeline, Nord Stream 2 AG, and its chief operating officer in what has been widely interpreted as a concession to Germany. The pipeline will transport natural gas directly from Russia to Germany.

Republicans and some Democrats have criticized the Biden administration for waiving sanctions on the company in charge of the project.

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Before the Senate departed Washington for the August recess last week, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) blocked the quick confirmation of a number of President Biden’s State Department nominees in an effort to force the administration to impose sanctions in response to the pipeline.

“Even as the Administration continues to oppose the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, including via our sanctions, we continue to work with Germany and other allies and partners to reduce the risks posed by the pipeline to Ukraine and frontline NATO and EU countries and to push back against harmful Russian activities, including in the energy sphere,” Blinken said in the statement.

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The administration on Friday also announced additional sanctions on Russia over the poisoning of opposition figure Alexey Navalny.

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