Democratic U.S. senators urge Biden to speed sanctions over Nord Stream 2

 Two senior Democrats U.S. Senators have urged President Joe ’s administration to apply all  diplomatic weight to stop the Nord Stream two natural gas pipeline from Russia to Europe, increasing pressure from party .

Senators Bob Menendez, the influential chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Jeanne Shaheen, who chairs the panel’s Europe subcommittee, asked Secretary of State, Antony Blinken to implement sanctions under existing laws.

“This pipeline must be stopped and your leadership is required towards that end,” they wrote in a letter.

“We do … urge effort to build strong Nord Stream 2 sanctions packages be accelerated to meet the urgency of the moment,” they said, noting pipeline will be completed this year if construction continues unimpeded.

The 11 billion dollars project was about 94 per cent complete and analysts say it could be finished June and .

The State Department did respond to a request for comment.

Nord Stream two, led by Russia state energy company Gazprom with its Western partners, would take Russian gas to Germany under the Baltic Sea.

The pipeline would bypass Ukraine, likely depriving it of lucrative transit revenues and potentially undermining its efforts to Russian aggression.

U.S. companies also wanted to sell Europe liquefied natural gas (LNG) as an alternative to Russian gas, which was cheaper.

Close ally Germany needed gas as it weans itself off nuclear and coal.

Blinken said last week that any entities involved with the project should abandon work.

will soon meet his German counterpart, Heiko Maas, to discuss the project.

U.S. lawmakers criticised the State Department in March for sanctioning new companies building the project when it issued a report to . The next report would be due in mid May, though any new sanctions could come ahead of it. (Reuters/NAN)