Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz has said he will continue to block William Burns as director of the Central Intelligence Agency until the Joe Biden administration expands sanctions against Nord Stream 2.
“I will lift the block when the Biden administration fulfills its legal obligation to report and sanction ships and companies building Putin’s pipeline,” Cruz wrote on Twitter.
Even one senator can significantly delay the approval of a particular candidacy, although not completely stop it. William Burns has already been unanimously recommended by the relevant committee. It is expected that the upper house of Congress will be able to approve his candidacy even without Cruise.
At the end of February, the American administration added the pipe-laying vessel Fortuna and its owner KVT-RUS to another sanctions list. But the Senate hawks argue that Biden’s team did not do anything significant, because both the ship and the company were already under restrictions. The Russian Foreign Ministry called Washington’s attempts to stop the construction of the pipeline as a manifestation of unfair competition.
The Nord Stream 2 project involves the construction of two lines of a gas pipeline with a total capacity of 55 billion cubic meters per year from the Russian coast through the Baltic Sea to Germany. The project is actively opposed by the United States, which is promoting its liquefied natural gas to the EU, Ukraine and some other European countries. In December 2019, the United States imposed sanctions on the gas pipeline, which caused the Swiss company Allseas to immediately stop laying the pipes.
Construction resumed a year later – in December 2020, Fortuna laid 2.6 kilometers of pipes in German waters. According to Nord Stream 2 AG, by the end of January, approximately 148 of the 2,460 kilometers of both pipelines remained unfinished: 120 in Danish waters and 28 in German waters.