Russia Hit With New U.S. Sanctions Over Nord Stream 2 Pipeline, Germany Unscathed

Russia was hit with new sanctions imposed by the U.S. government over the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Europe, but Germany remained exempt, the Associated Press reported.

The sanctions were directed at two Russian ships, the Ostap Sheremeta, which is involved in laying pipe for the project, and the JSC Nobility, and at a Russian construction firm, Konstanta OOO.

Sanctions have not targeted the German company in charge of the project, Nord Stream AG, or its executives. The Biden administration waived the sanctions against the company earlier this year, saying it was an attempt to rebuild relations with Germany after the Trump administration.

Members of Congress have voiced concerns over the pipeline giving Russia too much power in Europe, but the Biden administration defended its position by saying that it opposes the project but it is a fait accompli.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Nordstream 2 Pipeline
Russia has been hit by new sanctions from the U.S. government over the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, though Germany is unscathed. Above, the Yuri Topchev (right), a Russian offshore supply ship, departs as sections of pipe for the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline lie stacked at Mukran Port on Rügen Island on August 4, 2021, in Sassnitz, Germany. Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said: "Even as the administration continues to oppose the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, including via our sanctions, we continue to work with Germany and other allies and partners to reduce the risks posed by the pipeline to Ukraine and frontline NATO and EU countries and to push back against harmful Russian activities, including in the energy sphere."

Friday's announcement came just a month after the U.S and Germany reached a deal to allow Nord Stream 2′s completion without the imposition of U.S. sanctions on German companies.

Under the terms of the July 21 deal, the U.S. and Germany committed to countering any Russian attempt to use the Nord Stream 2 pipeline as a political weapon. And, they agreed to support Ukraine and Poland, both of which are bypassed by the project and fear Russia's intentions, by funding alternative energy and development projects.

The Nord Stream 2 project has posed a major foreign policy dilemma for the Biden administration. U.S. officials from both parties have long feared that it would give Russia too much power over European gas supplies. But the pipeline is almost completed and the U.S. has been determined to rebuild ties with Germany that were damaged during the Trump administration.

Poland and Ukraine expressed their displeasure over the decision to allow the pipeline's completion and said the efforts to reduce the Russian security threat were not sufficient.

Republicans and Democrats have assailed the administration's approach. GOP Senator Ted Cruz of Texas has gone so far as to block almost all of Biden's nominees for senior State Department positions over the waivers.

Nord Stream 2 Pipeline Sanctions
The Biden administration on Friday imposed new sanctions on three Russian ships and companies involved in constructing a controversial gas pipeline from Russia to Europe. Above, tugboats get into position on the Russian pipe-laying vessel Fortuna in the port of Wismar, Germany, on January 14, 2021. Jens Buettner/dpa via AP, File