Heather Nauert said on Tuesday that companies engaged in the construction and financing of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline “could expose themselves to sanctions” under a US federal law known as the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).
At a department press briefing in Washington, Nauert said that “firms that work in the Russian energy export pipeline sector could – if they engage in that kind of business, they could expose themselves to sanctions under CAATSA.”
She added: “As many people know, we oppose the Nord Stream 2 project; the United States Government does. We believe that the Nord Stream 2 project would undermine Europe’s overall energy security and stability.”
Nauert also said that the project -- which would carry gas from Russia to Germany while bypassing Poland and other countries in its region -- would provide Russia with “another tool to pressure European countries,” especially Ukraine.
“We’ve seen that – what Russia has done in the past, when they’ve turned off the pipeline in the middle of winter, causing some families to not have heat ... and we think that that is simply wrong,” she said.
Poland, the Baltic states and Ukraine all oppose the controversial project.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has said on Twitter that he welcomed the US State Department’s position on sanctions that could be imposed on companies engaged in the Nord Stream 2 project.
Morawiecki also tweeted that the project "undermines Europe’s energy security by leading to the monopolisation of gas supplies and threatens Ukraine.”
The project “should be stopped in its tracks," Morawiecki wrote.
In mid-February, ahead of a visit to Berlin, Morawiecki was quoted as saying that the planned Nord Stream 2 pipeline was “unnecessary, detrimental and divisive” and that it would make an all-out Russo-Ukrainian war more likely.
Polish President Andrzej Duda has called Nord Stream 2 "a weapon in the hybrid war being conducted against" Ukraine.
A senior European Union official has said that the planned Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany is a “political project,” according to a report.
If built, the Nord Stream 2 pipeline would supply around 55 billion cubic metres of natural gas a year from Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea, circumventing Poland, the Baltic states and Ukraine.
Source: IAR, state.gov