Since early 2014, when Russia invaded Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula and then orchestrated an insurrection in eastern Ukraine, Russia has steadily escalated its efforts to destabilize Ukraine and undermine its democratic institutions, said Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
“It’s interfered in Ukraine’s politics and elections; it’s blocked energy and commerce to intimidate its leaders and pressure its citizens; it’s used propaganda and disinformation to sow mistrust; it’s launched cyber-attacks on the country’s critical infrastructure.”
Since last March, Russia began a massive, unprovoked buildup of military forces and equipment on Ukraine’s border, which culminated in the unilateral recognition by Russia of two Ukrainian regions as independent states in violation of the UN Charter. The announcement was immediately followed by a military invasion of Ukraine.
As Russia’s aggression against Ukraine escalated, so did the sanctions imposed on Russia by the United States and its partners and Allies.
The energy sector is Russia’s most important industry, accounting for over half of the country’s exports. Around 70 percent of its natural gas exports go to Europe through numerous pipelines.
On February 23, just after the Kremlin blatantly violated Ukraine’s sovereignty by baldly declaring a part of Ukraine’s territory to be two independent countries, Germany announced that it would stop the certification of the newest gas pipeline to Europe, Nord Stream 2.
“The United States applauds Germany’s decision to take administrative steps to halt the certification process for Nord Stream 2, which will prevent the pipeline from becoming operational,” said Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a written statement.
After consulting with Germany and the European Union, the United States also imposed sanctions on Nord Stream 2 AG, as well as on Matthias Warnig, its Chief Executive Officer, and numerous other corporate officers.
This means that all assets of these individuals and companies that are under the jurisdiction of the United States or in the control of U.S. persons are frozen, and U.S. persons are prohibited from engaging in transactions with them.
“The United States remains steadfast in our support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” said Secretary Blinken. “Our actions today are in line with our commitment, in close coordination with our Allies and partners, to impose massive consequences and severe costs on Russia in response to its unlawful and unprovoked actions in Ukraine.”