The United States imposed sanctions on the Russian pipeline maker Nordstream 2

The United States imposed sanctions on the Russian pipeline maker Nordstream 2

WASHINGTON, Feb 23 (Reuters) – The United States on Wednesday imposed sanctions on a company responsible for building Russia’s North Stream 2 gas pipeline and extended sanctions against Moscow after admitting the presence of two divisions in eastern Ukraine.

Sanctions against Nortstream 2AG and its CEO, Matthias Warneck, add to the pressure on the Baltic Sea project, which is designed to double the flow of gas from Russia to Germany.

Nord Stream 2, Europe’s most contentious energy project, has yet to start work pending certification from Germany and the European Union.

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Germany on Tuesday shut down an $11 billion pipeline, citing Russia’s actions in Ukraine. The United States and the European Union are concerned that the pipeline project will increase Europe’s dependence on Russian energy supplies and prevent transportation to Ukraine, and that a new Russian gas pipeline will emerge.

In a statement on Wednesday, US President Joe Biden said his administration is closely coordinating Nord Stream 2’s operation with Germany: “Today I instructed my government to impose sanctions on Nord Stream 2 AG and its business leaders.”

Biden added: “These actions are just another setback in our response to Russian actions in Ukraine. As I have made clear, we will not hesitate to take further actions if Russia continues to intensify them.”

As of March 2, the US Treasury has granted a general license allowing it to finalize transactions with Nord Stream 2 AG.

Gerhard Schrader, a close friend of former Russian President Vladimir Putin and former German chancellor Vladimir Putin, who has headed Nordstream’s shareholder group since 2005, has not been affected by the sanctions.

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Nord Stream 2 AG is a Swiss registered company whose parent company is Gazprom, a Russian state gas company. Gasprom owns the entire pipeline, but pays half of the costs, while Shell and Austrian OMV share the rest. (OMVV.VI) French ENGIE, German Uniper (UN01.DE) and Wintershall DE [RIC:RIC:WINT.UL]†

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Reporting by Jeff Mason, Kanishka Singh and Daphne Saladakis; Editing by Toina Siaku, Sisu Nomiyama and Howard Koller

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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