State Dept. Spox Price: Sanctioning Nord Stream 2 ‘Would Undermine’ Efforts to Keep Russia from Using Energy to Coerce

On Monday’s broadcast of CNN’s “The Lead,” State Department Spokesman Ned Price said the State Department opposes Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) push to impose sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline because sanctioning the pipeline “would undermine” the “most potent tool in our arsenal when it comes to Russia’s potential use of energy as a weapon.” Because it would hurt “trans-Atlantic unity.”

Host Jake Tapper asked, “Ted Cruz is pushing for a vote this week for sanctions against Nord Stream 2, saying it will give Moscow too much power. Ukrainian President Zelensky supports Cruz’s bill. Our sources tell us that the State Department is actually lobbying Democrats to not support the Cruz legislation. Why not?”

Price responded, “So, Jake, we have been very clear that one of the most effective, if not the most effective tools we have in our arsenal when it comes to Russian aggression, and that includes energy coercion, is trans-Atlantic unity, is having a united front with our European allies, with our European partners as well, against Russia. And that’s what we’ve been able to put together in recent months. We do not wish to do anything that would undermine that most potent tool in our arsenal when it comes to Russia’s potential use of energy as a weapon. And of course, we are concerned that this amendment would do just that. So, we’re very clear that we want to take steps to buttress that trans-Atlantic unity. And let me make one other point here, Jake: The Germans have spoken in no uncertain terms that if Russia were to move forward with continued aggression against Ukraine, it would be an extraordinarily unlikely prospect that gas would flow through the Nord Stream 2 Pipeline. There is a lot of talk in this town and elsewhere that Nord Stream 2 is a source of leverage for Vladimir Putin. Actually, the opposite is, in fact, true. Nord Stream 2, there is no gas running in it right now. If the Russians want to see — if they want to achieve their ends with Nord Stream 2, they know that invading Ukraine, continuing to aggress against Ukraine is not the way to do that. And in fact, they know that they must not do so and they’ve heard that very clearly from the Germans, from the United States, and clearly from the trans-Atlantic community, a community that we — has spoken with one voice in recent weeks and recent months.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett


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