On December 17, the U.S. Senate approved legislation placing sanctions on foreign individuals and entities involved in the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline and the TurkStream pipeline, projects run by Russian-based Gazprom and intended to route natural gas from Russia to Europe. These sanctions have bipartisan support in Congress, with lawmakers fearing that completion of the pipelines will elevate Europe’s reliance on resources from Russia, monetarily benefit the Russian government, and increase Russian President Vladimir Putin’s sphere of influence over Europe. The sanctions provisions, which are contained within a defense spending bill, will now move to President Trump’s desk, which he is expected to sign into law later in the week. The Trump administration will then have 60 days to identify individuals and entities providing support for vessels engaging in certain pipe-laying activities. Following the 60-day period, the Trump administration must revoke visas from identified individuals and corporate officers and principal shareholders of identified entities. In addition, the Trump administration must block all property and interests in property related to identified individuals and entities. The legislation lists a number of exceptions, and also provides authority to not impose sanctions for any individual or entity that engages in good faith efforts to wind down operations that would otherwise subject that individual or entity to sanctions.
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