The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee of the US Congress has acted to put some teeth into its much ballyhooed Nordstream 2 sanctions policy by approving The Ukraine Security Partnership Act. This measure authorizes $300 million in foreign military financing, of which $150 million would be subject to conditions. It needs to be passed in the full Senate and House of Representatives and signed by President Joe Biden to become law.
"Ukrainians have a right to choose their own future, and this bill contributes to that by supporting Western-style military reforms, lethal and non-lethal military equipment to defend itself from Russia, and U.S. diplomatic support for peace negotiations," Senator Jim Risch, the committee's top Republican, said in a release.
The bill contains an amendment from Republican Senator Ted Cruz that requires the State Department to determine whether 20 ships, including the Akademik Cherskiy, Umka, and Errieit, are subject to U.S. sanctions for helping to build the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, a project to bring Russian gas to Germany under the Baltic Sea. The determination is required within 15 days of passage.
The pipeline, led by Russian state gas company Gazprom and its Western allies, would bypass Ukraine, depriving it of billions of dollars in transit fees and likely undermining the country's efforts against Russian aggression. Biden has said the pipeline is a bad deal for Europe, but the project is about 95% complete.