55 senators, including six Democrats, voted in favor of the bill proposed by Republican Senator Ted Cruz. 46 against them, including Republican Rand Paul. The draft stipulated imposing penalties on the gas pipeline operator within 15 days of the law’s adoption.
The vote was the result of an agreement between Cruz and Democrats that allowed the bill to vote against Cruz’s end to block ambassador appointments for President Joe Biden.
The failure of the project is the result of, among other things, pressure from the White House, which persuaded Democrats, who had previously supported sanctions by the vast majority, not to interfere in diplomatic attempts to resolve the crisis with Russia. The Biden administration has also argued that sanctions could undermine the agreement with the German government, which has pledged to suspend NS2 in the event of Russian aggression. The Ukrainian authorities, in turn, lobbied for the adoption of the bill.
During the debate leading up to the vote, Cruz accused Democrats of voting against him only because Joe Biden is now president and not Donald Trump. “If Russia invades Ukraine, it may be because the US Senate has heard and ignored the pleas of our Ukrainian allies,” he added. In turn, the Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Democrats, Bob Menendez, accused Cruz of cynicism and stated that the imposition of sanctions could be a pretext for Russia to launch an invasion.
On Wednesday, Menendez announced his own draft sanctions covering both NS2, much broader restrictions against Russian energy and financial firms, and a moratorium on Russia’s SWIFT system that would be triggered in the event of a Russian invasion. The project was approved by the White House.
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