Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Maria Zakharova commented on the latest statements by Washington on the situation with Nord Stream 2.
In her opinion, we are talking about undermining the principles of free trade.
“The State Department has admitted that the United States is undermining the basic principles of free trade and competition, subordinating the laws of the market to its own geopolitical interests, acting against the will of sovereign countries and against the interests of citizens of independent states,” Zakharova wrote on Facebook.
Earlier, the head of the press service of the State Department, Ned Price, said that Washington opposed the Nord Stream 2 gas transmission project, allegedly not for commercial reasons, but for geopolitical reasons.
Price spoke up on this topic at a press briefing.
He stressed that the current administration adheres to the same position on the Nord Stream 2 issue as the previous one.
"This is a bad deal, bad for Europe, it goes against the stated goals of Europe in the field of energy," - said a spokesman for the State Department.
Answering the clarifying question about whether the deal is bad from a commercial, geopolitical or moral point of view, Price said that it was about geopolitics.
“We think in terms of geopolitics.
We are worried about the influence that (thanks to Nord Stream 2 -
) Russia will get, "Price said.
In her commentary, Zakharova also noted that Germany has repeatedly declared its interest in launching Nord Stream 2.
“Germany constantly declares that this project is beneficial for it!
And the US constantly declares that the economy and energy cannot be politicized!
And now those who do not want to politicize the economy and energy will help those who benefit from the project from an economic and energy point of view, not to implement it? "
- wrote the official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry.
Price also recalled the report that the State Department had previously sent to Congress.
The document dealt with the companies involved in laying the Russian-German gas pipeline and falling under US sanctions.
The report mentions two Russian enterprises, including the company KVT-Rus, which owns the pipe-laying vessel Fortuna.
As explained by Ned Price, the report also contains a list of organizations that are "making good faith efforts to nullify activities related to the Nord Stream 2 project in an appropriate time frame."
State Department Press Officer Ned Price
© Nicholas Kamm
Therefore, at the moment, these companies are not subject to US sanctions, said a spokesman for the State Department.
This list includes 15 companies.
The list "demonstrates" that "legal goals" and actions have a "good effect", Price said.
“We made it clear that the companies involved in Nord Stream 2 risk being subject to sanctions,” he added.
On the eve of the US authorities added "KBT-Rus" and the barge "Fortune" to another sanctions list, the US Treasury reported.
This time, the ship came under sanctions under the Protecting Europe's Energy Security Act (PEESA).
However, some congressmen considered such restrictions insufficient.
Idaho Senator Jim Risch, the Republican leader on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, condemned the report as weak and incomplete.
“From the information about the location of the vessels, it clearly follows that the ships not listed in this report are carrying out activities to support the construction of Nord Stream 2,” he said.
A similar point of view was also expressed by Democratic Senator Jin Shahin.
According to experts, some of the concessions made by the Joe Biden administration are related to the White House's plans to restore relations with the European Union.
“Donald Trump acted directly, thinking little about what impression this would make on European partners.
He openly pushed for American interests.
The new administration wants to restore the previous level of relations with Europe, "Konstantin Blokhin, an employee of the Center for Security Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, explained in a comment to RT.
Recall that these are not the first US sanctions against the Russian company KBT-Rus.
In January 2021, the Donald Trump administration imposed restrictions on it under the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).
Washington has long been using sanctions pressure against Nord Stream 2.
In December 2019, the US authorities adopted a defense budget that contained restrictions against companies involved in the construction of the gas pipeline.
This move by Washington forced the Swiss pipe-laying company Allseas to leave the project.
Pipe-laying vessel "Fortuna" in the port of the German city of Wismar
© Dmitry Lelchuk
Sanctions against Nord Stream 2 are included in the US defense budget for fiscal 2021.
The document, adopted on January 1 by the US Senate, contains provisions that supplement a subsection of the US Energy Security in Europe Act (PEESA), which deals with the expansion of sanctions against Nord Stream 2.
Now the restrictions apply to those companies that provide insurance and underwriting services to the project.
(Underwriting is a guarantee of receiving payments in the event of financial losses.)
However, all these efforts of the American side did not put an end to the project.
As Alexey Miller, Chairman of the Board of Gazprom PJSC, said at the beginning of 2020, Russia is able to complete the construction of the gas pipeline on its own.
After the Danish Energy Agency gave permission to use anchor pipelayers in the construction of Nord Stream 2, Russia was able to connect the Fortuna barge to the work, in addition to the Akademik Chersky vessel.
The vessel started laying the gas pipeline in February 2021.
"Continuation of long-term cooperation"
The administration of Barack Obama also insisted on the reduction of Russian gas imports by European countries.
Washington even then referred in this issue to the "energy security" of Europe, which allegedly could suffer as a result of the expansion of fuel supplies from Russia.
As an alternative to Russian supplies, the American side offers its European partners to increase the purchase of American liquefied natural gas (LNG).
In addition, as an argument against the launch of Nord Stream 2, its opponents traditionally cite the fact that after expanding supplies bypassing Ukraine, Kiev may suffer financial losses.
Tanker with American LNG in Swinoujscie, Poland
© Agencja Gazata / Cezary Aszkielowicz
Note that in December 2019, Russia and Ukraine signed a new transit contract for a period of five years and a volume of 225 billion cubic meters.
According to the agreement, in 2020 the transit volume amounted to 65 billion cubic meters, in subsequent years through the Ukrainian GTS will be supplied to the European market for 40 billion.
As Vladimir Shapovalov, deputy director of the Institute of History and Politics of the Moscow State Pedagogical University, noted in an interview with RT, talks about the losses of Kiev due to Nord Stream 2 are groundless.
“Moscow can continue transit through Ukraine after the launch of the bypass gas pipeline, this already depends on Kiev itself.
Initially, it was about creating additional routes for gas supplies.
However, Kiev repeats what the US wants to hear from it and acts accordingly, "the expert explained in a commentary on RT.
The authorities of Ukraine and Poland actively support Washington's sanctions attacks on Nord Stream 2 and demand to stop the project.
On the eve of the Foreign Ministers of both countries, Zbigniew Rau and Dmitry Kuleba published an article in the American edition of Politico, in which they called on the head of the White House Joe Biden to prevent the implementation of the Nord Stream 2 project by any available means.
The ministers also mentioned the FRG in the text, noting that they respect the right of Berlin "to express its point of view."
“However, at the same time we are firmly convinced that such projects (like Nord Stream 2) cannot be viewed only through the prism of bilateral relations - they should be viewed in the broader context of the interests and security of Europe as a whole,” they wrote.
Berlin has repeatedly made it clear that it does not share Washington's position and intends to implement a joint gas transmission project with Moscow.
Earlier, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said that creating conditions for the completion of the construction of Nord Stream 2 is a priority for the German government.
In January 2021, the minister also noted the incorrectness of the extraterritorial sanctions introduced by the United States.
“According to our assessment, extraterritorial sanctions are not correct.
We have said this more than once before, ”Maas emphasized.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas
© Odd Andersen
According to experts, Washington's statements that the construction of a new gas pipeline contradicts European goals in the energy sector are not true.
Nord Stream 2 is a continuation of the long-term cooperation between Russia and Europe, which began in the last century.
This is a continuation of the strategic partnership between Russia and Europe, from which all parties benefit, ”said Vladimir Shapovalov.
According to the expert, when the State Department talks about the geopolitical reasons for the struggle to stop Nord Stream 2, this does not quite correspond to the real motives.
“For the US, this is not so much a geopolitical issue as an economic one.
They want to expand their gas supplies to the European market by themselves.
And geopolitics is a cover for commercial interests.
In fact, the substitution of concepts has been dragging on for so long that American officials themselves sometimes cannot separate geopolitics from economics.
In their view, what is beneficial to the United States is beneficial to the world.
But this is not the case, ”the expert added.
Konstantin Blokhin adheres to a similar point of view.
“The US wants to disguise its own economic interests with imaginary concern for Europe, which allegedly risks becoming dependent on Russia.
In fact, Washington does not want to lose part of the European gas market and is substituting concepts, ”the expert concluded.