Senate to reject Ukraine-backed Cruz bill imposing sanctions on Russia

The Senate was on Thursday preparing to reject a Republican bill that would have imposed new sanctions on the Russian company behind the construction of a controversial gas pipeline connecting Russia and Germany under the Baltic Sea.

The bill, which was introduced by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) last year, failed to meet the necessary 60-vote threshold. The final tally had not yet been called Thursday evening.

Six Democratic Senators – Mark Kelly of Arizona, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Raphael Warnock of Georgia, Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire and Jacky Rosen and Catherine Cortez Mastro of Nevada – voted in favor of the legislation.

Senators Krysten Sinema (D-Ariz.) And Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM) went from “yes” to “no” during the roll call.

Rand Paul (R-Ky.) Was the only Republican to vote “no”. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) was not present to vote due to a recent diagnosis of COVID-19.

Cruz urged fellow Democrats to back the measure ahead of the vote, noting that it was similar to a separate sanctions bill introduced by Democrats on Wednesday and had the support of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

The Senate is set to reject a bill from Senator Ted Cruz that would sanction the company building Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline.
REUTERS / Elizabeth Frantz

“The eyes of history are on the Senate,” said Cruz. “There are times, especially when it comes to war and peace, when the consequences of our actions resonate over decades. This moment is one of them.

The Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which is completed but not yet operational, bypasses existing fuel transit routes through Ukraine, depriving the Kiev government of lucrative royalties. Foreign policy experts warn that the pipeline would make Europe more dependent on Russian energy to heat their homes and businesses.

Meanwhile, around 100,000 Russian troops have gathered on the border with Ukraine, raising many fears of an invasion.

The bill had the support of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
The bill had the support of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Photo by HANDOUT / UKRAINE PRESIDENCE / AFP via Getty Images
The rejection of the bill comes amid an accumulation of Russian troops on the border with Ukraine.
The rejection of the bill comes amid an accumulation of Russian troops on the border with Ukraine.
Photo by SERGEI SUPINSKY / AFP via Getty Images

While President Biden has vowed to impose “tough” economic sanctions on Russian President Vladimir Putin if Moscow goes ahead with military action, Democrats in the White House and Senate have repeatedly criticized the project. of Law Cruz.

The proposal would have put in place sanctions 15 days after its approval, whether Russia invades Ukraine or not. The legislation also reportedly imposed sanctions on key Russian military and government leaders, including Putin, as well as financial institutions. Companies that provide secure messaging systems would also be affected.

A State Department spokesperson told The Post on Wednesday that the Republican proposal “will undermine our efforts to deter Russia and remove the influence the United States and our allies and partners have right now to score points. policies at home. And that would come at a time when we must be closely united with our European partners, including Germany. It does not mean anything.”

On Thursday, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-NJ) spoke out against Cruz in favor of his own sanctions legislation, which only puts sanctions in place if Moscow invades the country. Ukraine.

“We are voting on whether to sanction Nord Stream 2, as if that alone would deter Putin from re-invading,” Menendez said. “Sanctioning Nord Stream 2 now, at this pivotal moment, would have the opposite effect of deterring Putin. This may even be the excuse that Putin is looking for.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Robert Menendez said the bill would not deter Putin from invading Ukraine.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Robert Menendez said the bill would not deter Putin from invading Ukraine.
Getty Images

“Senator Cruz wants to stop the pipeline. Me too, ”Menendez added. “But it’s far from clear that sanctions at this point, with the pipeline already built, will do just that.”

The White House supports Menendez’s bill, according to a National Security Council spokesperson who said it “would result in significant costs to the Russian economy” if Moscow chooses to attack.