U.S. hits Russia with sanctions

August 21, 2021 - 18:52

The administration of U.S. President Joe Biden has slapped sanctions on a Russian ship and two companies involved in the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. In a report, the U.S. State Department says the sanctions have been imposed on the vessel, Ostap Sheremeta, shipowner JSC Nobility and construction company Konstanta.

At the same time, President Biden has issued an executive order allowing for sanctions to be imposed on certain Russian pipelines. 

In a statement, U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, said that the Biden White House has now sanctioned seven entities and identified 16 of their vessels as blocked property under sanctions laws passed by Congress.

However, the punitive measures are unlikely to have much impact on the nearly completed energy project. 

Analysts say the $11 billion pipeline venture to bring Arctic Russian gas under the Baltic Sea to Germany would likely be completed despite the American sanctions. 

Just like the previous two U.S. presidents, Biden has opposed the pipeline because it would potentially undermine America’s own energy output as well as boost ties between Moscow and Berlin. 

Biden has also sought to repair U.S. relations with Germany, Europe's biggest economy, as he needs help on many issues from the economy to support against America’s adversaries Iran, China, and Russia. Under the Trump era, Washington’s ties with Berlin were fractured.  

On Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Nord Stream 2, led by Russia’s state energy company and its Western partners, is almost complete with only 15 km left to construct.

Meanwhile, on the anniversary of the alleged poising of a Russian opposition figure, Alexei Navalny, Britain and the U.S. imposed sanctions on individuals, which Washington and London claim are Russian intelligence operatives allegedly responsible for the alleged poisoning of Navalny.

Britain and the U.S. both targeted seven Russians with sanctions and also issued a joint statement warning Russia over chemical weapons.

Washington separately imposed sanctions on another two men and four Russian institutes it said were involved in chemical weapons research or what it described as an “assassination attempt” against Navalny.

Navalny was flown to Germany for medical treatment after falling ill in Siberia on August 20 last year.

Moscow has rejected any involvement in the incident and allegations against it accusing the West of a smear campaign against Russia.

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