Ted Cruz Calls Joe Biden 'Soft on Russia' As Admin Imposes New Sanctions

Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) has accused President Joe Biden of being "soft on Russia" as his administration imposed new sanctions on the government of Vladimir Putin.

Cruz took to Twitter to highlight an Axios report that pointed out the sanctions did not target Nord Stream 2, a Russian-German gas pipeline.

The pipeline, which is almost complete, will deliver Russian gas directly to the European Union, bypassing Ukraine. Its construction was halted for more than a year because of U.S. sanctions in 2019, according to The Financial Times. Work restarted in January, the paper said.

Cruz tweeted: "Biden is soft on Russia. We had a major bipartisan victory stopping Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

"Putin resumed building immediately after Biden was elected."

He added: "Biden Admin dragging their feet on mandatory sanctions is a multi-billion gift to Putin."

Both Republicans and Democrats supported the earlier efforts to scupper Nord Stream 2. Some EU member states also urged Germany to abandon the project, according to Politico.

In the tweet shared by Cruz, Axios reporter Jonathan Swan quoted a source close to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky as saying: "The Ukrainians have not received any assurances from Washington that all possible measures will be taken to stop the pipeline from being built."

Biden is soft on Russia.

We had a major bipartisan victory stopping Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

Putin resumed building immediately after Biden was elected.

Biden Admin dragging their feet on mandatory sanctions is a multi-billion gift to Putin. https://t.co/NTYNq8KzMZ

— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) April 16, 2021

Biden said on Thursday that the pipeline remained "an issue in play." but was a complicated matter. As the Axios report points out, preventing Nord Stream 2 would likely mean imposing sanctions on Germany, a U.S. ally.

Last August, Cruz and two other GOP senators, Tom Cotton and Ron Johnson, sent a letter to a German port warning of "crushing legal and economic sanctions" if they continued to service Russian ships building the pipeline.

The port—Mukran Port operated by Fährhafen Sassnitz—is in the parliamentary constituency of Chancellor Angela Merkel. Former President Donald Trump was a frequent critic of Merkel and the pipeline project.

On Thursday, the Biden administration expelled 10 Russian diplomats as it imposed its new sanctions. The measures target the Kremlin's ability to borrow money by prohibiting U.S. financial institutions from buying Russian bonds directly from Russian institutions.

"The president signed this sweeping new authority to confront Russia's continued and growing malign behavior," said Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen in a statement.

"Treasury is leveraging this new authority to impose costs on the Russian government for its unacceptable conduct, including by limiting Russia's ability to finance its activities and by targeting Russia's malicious and disruptive cyber-capabilities," she said.

The Russian foreign ministry warned that the sanctions would "trigger a resolute retaliation" and the U.S. would "pay a price for the degradation of the bilateral ties."

Newsweek has asked Senator Ted Cruz and the White House for comment.

Senator Ted Cruz Speaks to the Press
Senator Ted Cruz of Texas speaks to members of the press on March 24 on Capitol Hill. Cruz has called President Biden "soft on Russia." Alex Wong/Getty Images