WASHINGTON -- The United States has announced further sanctions related to the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, citing Russia-linked Transadria Ltd. and its Marlin vessel.
A November 22 statement by Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the action "is in line with the United States' continuing opposition to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline and the U.S. government's continued compliance with the Protecting Europe's Energy Security Act of 2019 (PEESA)."
"With today's action, the administration has now sanctioned eight persons and identified 17 of their vessels as blocked property pursuant to PEESA in connection with Nord Stream 2."
The statement said Transadria will be sanctioned under the act and that the Marlin will be considered "blocked property," without providing specific details.
The controversial $11 billion natural gas pipeline runs under the Baltic Sea from Russia to Germany. Russia has said it is ready to begin shipping gas through the pipeline, which was completed in September, but German and European regulators must first complete a lengthy approval process.
Germany on November 16 announced it was suspending the approval process because the Swiss-based consortium behind the Russian pipeline needed to form a German subsidiary in order to secure an operating license.
The United States, Ukraine, and several members of the European Union oppose the Nord Stream 2 pipeline on the grounds that it endangers European energy security. The pipeline would also deprive Ukraine of crucial transit fees.
Still, some European countries, including Germany, say the pipeline is vital to secure energy supplies amid surging prices.
The pipeline operator, Swiss-based Nord Stream 2 AG, is owned by Russian state oil giant Gazprom.
The U.S. administration in May waived the idea of sanctioning the pipeline operator itself, as well as its German CEO, saying Russia would complete it regardless of the economic penalties imposed and in a desire not to strain U.S.-German relations.
That decision means vessels working on the pipeline could be sanctioned but not the Russian-owned company that hired them.
To help soften the blow to Ukraine from the launch of Nord Stream 2, the United States and Germany agreed to invest in the country's alternative energy industry.
'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 his statement
With reporting by Reuters, NBC, and dpa
Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Washington DC 20036