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Sen. Cruz Discusses Overwhelming Bipartisan Support for Stopping Putin’s Pipeline, Predicts Rush to Withdraw Investments from Nord Stream 2 Project

‘Going to be a rush to see who gets their money out first because this project, I believe, will never deliver gas’

December 17, 2020

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, this week participated in a panel discussion with the Atlantic Council about Russia’s construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline and his efforts to halt the project in its tracks. Highlights from Sen. Cruz’s discussion may be viewed below.

WATCH: Sen. Cruz Speaks With the Atlantic Council on How To Stop Russia’s Nord Stream 2 Pipeline 

On his work to secure bipartisan Nord Stream 2 sanctions:

“The first sanctions that we passed were designed to operate very much like a scalpel. They were narrowly structured to target any companies laying the deep sea pipeline necessary to complete Nord Stream 2. And there were only a handful of companies on planet Earth that had the technology to do so.”

[…]

“Once it was clear it was going to pass, the next wave of disinformation was that, well, the sanctions would take time to go into effect. And so the pipeline could be completed before the sanctions would go into effect. That was categorically false. Yes, the first wave of statutes allowed a wind down period, but that did not allow additional construction. And the point that I made to the CEO, and I am sure to the general counsel of the company, is that if the company continued constructing the pipeline for even one minute after the president signed the legislation, the sanctions would be mandatory and crippling, and I do not think it was coincidental that roughly 15 minutes before the sanctions were signed, the company announced they were immediately halting. And the ship, the Pioneering Spirit, was lifting anchor and setting sail. Now, what did the Russians do? Nobody expected the Russians just immediately to surrender. The Russians now are trying to use their own ships to do it. They don’t have the technology. They’re trying to retrofit it. And so the second wave of sanctions is designed to cut off this second effort from the Russians to complete this pipeline.

“And the second wave of sanctions that has now passed both houses of Congress is really targeted at the big three. It’s targeted at pipeline activities, it’s targeted at insurance and reinsurance, and it’s targeted at certification. And one of the important things about certification is under the terms of the permits that have been granted, a third party certification is required. And this again is designed to be surgical, to make clear this project will not be completed.”

[…]

“I’m actually quite optimistic on a couple of fronts. Number one, under the first sanctions legislation that has already passed into law, a report is due from the administration in the coming days of any companies that have committed sanctionable activities. And so I am eagerly awaiting that report. I expect this administration to provide that report to Congress. And under the terms of the sanctions, any company listed on that report, sanctions are mandatory. They’re not discretionary. They are mandatory.”

On Russian disinformation and the effectiveness of U.S. sanctions:

“To the surprise of no one who has followed this issue, the Russian foreign ministry is engaged in disinformation. […] And, you know, it’s worth remembering, right about a year ago is when we passed the first Nord Stream 2 sanctions, and at the time the Russians were engaged in the exact same disinformation campaign.”

[…] 

The Russians were saying over and over again, ‘These sanctions will never pass. There’s no way they can pass and the pipeline can’t be stopped.’ We now know definitively, as a matter of fact, that was false. […] And construction on the pipeline halted minutes before the sanctions were signed into law. They have had, in effect, halting the pipeline in its tracks and the second wave of sanctions will be – will soon be signed into law. They’ve now passed through both houses of Congress, and that will ratchet up the pressure even further.” 

On the bipartisan support for U.S. sanctions:

“You know, the European Parliament voted 433 to 105 to condemn the Nord Stream 2 project. […] Europe understands [this would be] putting billions in the pocket of Putin and giving Putin control over a lifeline. We’ve already seen Putin is willing to cut off energy in the middle of a cold winter. That’s bad for Europe and it’s bad for security. And that’s why we’ve seen such widespread agreement not only in Europe with an overwhelming super majority condemning the project, but also in the United States with an enduring and durable bipartisan majority.”

[…]

We have had consistently for two years now strong bipartisan support, virtually unanimous bipartisan support. You know, your last question was something to the effect of, ‘Isn’t this all about Texas oil and gas?’ You know, the last I checked, Nancy Pelosi is not a big defender of Texas oil and gas. Chuck Schumer is not a big defender of Texas oil and gas. And yet, Nancy and Chuck and Democrats throughout the Senate and the House have stood united on this.” 

[….]

“It’s a recognition of the power of the merits of the arguments, because I spent a lot of time meeting in person with my colleagues in the Senate, with Republicans, and Democrats. […] And we were able to keep the focus not on any potential political distractions concerning Ukraine and impeachment, but instead keep the focus on Russia and let’s not send billions of dollars to Putin that he will use to undermine safety and security in Europe and across the world – that there was a strong bipartisan commitment to.” 

WATCH: Putin’s Pipeline Must Never Be Completed

BACKGROUND

Sen. Cruz has led a bipartisan and bicameral fight to stop Putin’s pipeline.

  • In June of 2020, Sens. Cruz and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) introduced  bipartisan legislation clarifying and expanding sanctions they led to passage last year that has now halted the pipeline for the last six months.
  • In September 2019, during a foreign policy address at the Hudson Institute, Sen. Cruz warned against the dangers of failing to act and stop the pipeline.
  • In September and November 2019, during Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearings, Sen. Cruz raised his concerns about the pipeline.
  • In October 2019, following Denmark’s approval of Nord Stream 2 construction through the Danish seabed, Sen. Cruz once again urged his colleagues to pass his bipartisan bill to halt the pipeline.
  • In November 2019, as the window to act grew tighter, Sen. Cruz released a video about the dangers of Putin’s pipeline and urged his colleagues to act.
  • In December 2019, during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, Sen. Cruz directly called on the administration to use its statutory authority to stop Russia’s Nord Stream 2.
  • In December 2019, once the bill to impose devastating, targeted sanctions was included in the FY 2020 NDAA, Sen. Cruz delivered remarks on the Senate floor urging the administration to immediately begin working on implementing the sanctions upon becoming law.
  • In December 2019, shortly before President Trump signed the NDAA into law, Sens. Cruz and Johnson sent a letter to the CEO of Allseas Group S.A. (Allseas), putting the company on formal legal notice, warning they would face crippling sanctions that could devastate the financial viability of the company if they continued installing deep-sea pipes for Russia.

Read more about Sen. Cruz’s ongoing fight below.

Houston Chronicle: Inside Sen. Ted Cruz’s big play to block Vladimir Putin’s pipeline

“A bipartisan coalition led by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, has enacted sanctions against businesses that help Russia’s state-owned company Gazprom build the pipeline, scaring off contractors, halting the project and keeping Akademik Cherskiy in port. The success of the sanctions marks a potential turning point in U.S. efforts to reduce Europe’s reliance on Russian energy. While no one is counting out Gazprom or Russian President Vladimir Putin, Cruz and the sanctions he championed have boxed the Russians into a corner from which there is no obvious escape.”

The Wall Street Journal: U.S., Russia Race to Outflank Each Other on Russian Pipeline

“In November, Congress approved the new sanctions for inclusion in the next NDAA. The legislation is due to be approved before the current congressional session ends. ‘A pipeline that is 95% complete is a pipeline that is 0% complete,’ Mr. Cruz said. ‘Right now, it’s just a piece of metal at the bottom of the ocean.’” 

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