Nord Stream II, a controversial Russian gas pipeline to Germany, could become the target of US sanctions if Russia carries out an invasion of Ukraine, experts have said.
“Nord Stream could certainly be targeted, and they could expand export controls and expand enforcement of existing sanctions. All of that can be on the table,” Matt Zweig, senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracy told The Post. “There are a number of potential sanction targets available depending on the authority the administration has.”
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told The Sunday Times of London that hitting the pipeline “cannot be excluded” from a sanctions package.
Critics say the sanctions should have been imposed months ago.
“Why don’t we sanction him now,” asked former Director of National Intelligence Ric Grenell. “If what Biden says is true, that the Russians are marching towards war, isn’t that reason enough to impose sanctions?”
US lawmakers have promised the ‘mother of all sanctions’ against the country if President Putin carries out an invasion. Also at the forefront of potential new targets are a dozen major Russian banks and a large network of Putin’s cronies around the world.
Last week, Britain debated sanctions that could hit anyone deemed “involved in supporting the [Russian] government” – including the oligarchs living in London.
It “would amount to the toughest sanctions regime we’ve had against Russia,” said James Cleverly, Britain’s Minister of State for Europe.
President Biden has considered excluding Russian banks from SWIFT, the international payments system – but since Russian entities owe around $60 billion to European banks, the move would hurt the European Union as much as Russia.
Western powers may also choose to invoke a nuclear option of imposing sanctions on Russian oil and gas companies, one of the country’s most important industries.