Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is to get a vote this week on a bill to sanction Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline. The pipeline is a key way for Russia to ship energy to Western Europe, notably Germany.
Ukrainian officials are heavily lobbying US senators to vote for the sanctions, claiming the pipeline amounts to “an existential threat” to Ukrainian interests. Ukrainians added that supporting them necessarily means opposing the pipeline.
Historically, Russia exported gas to Europe through Ukraine. They believed they needed a direct line because Ukraine has a large unpaid gas debt, and Russian companies expressed concern that shipping that way would encourage Ukrainian companies to try to siphon off some of that gas.
German officials support the pipeline and are warning the US against getting involved. Chancellor Scholz called the pipeline a “private sector project,” and said targeting it would not be suitable as a way to go after Russia.
But as detailed in Axios, Sen. Cruz isn’t backing down after he vowed in August to hold up all State Department nominees until the desired NS2 sanctions were imposed:
- In late December, Cruz reached a deal with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) to release his hold on 32 nominees in exchange for the Senate holding a vote on Nord Stream 2 sanctions by Jan. 14.
- Assuming all Republicans vote in favor, the bill needs 10 Senate Democrats to reach the 60-vote threshold to pass.
Progress! For months Team Biden has been absurdly claiming that Nord Stream 2 was a “fait accompli” that couldn’t be stopped. That was their excuse for not imposing Congressionally-mandated sanctions.
Now they admit NS2 can be stopped from coming online. What’s their excuse now? https://t.co/NqWaWUzKGU
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) January 5, 2022
One source close to Ukrainian lobbying efforts aimed at Congress told Axios, “Virtually all of Europe and even half the German government are opposed to NS2.”
The official added, “If one is serious about transatlantic unity and supporting Ukraine against Russian aggression,” then it remains that the “logical position” is to sanction the Russia-to-Germany pipeline.