According to the American publication "The Hill", Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Republican Senator Ted Cruz have agreed to put to a vote the issue of sanctions against the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline , which may take place in the coming weeks - until January 14.
During the negotiations, the Republicans, who insist on penalties against the operator of the pipeline of the Nord Stream 2 AG pipeline, promised, in exchange for consideration of their initiative in the Senate, no longer to delay the approval of dozens of candidates for the posts of ambassadors, which they had previously blocked precisely because of the refusal of President Joe Biden's administration to impose new sanctions against "Nord Stream - 2".
It would seem that this is great news for Ukraine, for which the launch of a new gas pipeline bypassing Ukraine in 2025 could mean a complete cessation of the transit of Russian gas through our GTS, which means an annual loss for Naftogaz of at least $ 1.5 billion. But even worse - turning it into a heap of scrap metal, because the gas pressure necessary for the functioning of it will not be "in the pipe" after the termination of the transit of Russian gas.
However, as the saying goes, "the devil is in the details." The thing is that for the adoption of the bill and the introduction of new sanctions, not the traditional simple majority of votes (51), but 60 will be required. Considering that the Republicans have 50 mandates in the Senate, they will need to win as many as 10 Democratic senators to their side for the introduction of new sanctions. Which, of course, is extremely unlikely. Yes, there are indeed those among the Democrats who oppose the launch of Nord Stream - 2. But it is extremely unlikely that the Democrats will allow as many as 20% of their representatives in the Upper House of Congress to move away from the "party policy" and "substitute" Biden, for whom the refusal to introduce new sanctions against the gas pipeline under the Baltic Sea became the cornerstone of the agreements with Merkel and Putin this summer.
After all, it was after the meeting with him in Geneva that the Biden administration refused to impose sanctions against the operator company NS-2 AG, announced back in April against the background of the previous threat of the invasion of Russian troops into Ukraine. After that, a deal was reached with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on "Nord Stream -2", for which the Republicans also criticized the Biden administration.
Biden is definitely not going to be led by the Republicans and significantly complicate relations not only with Putin, who still has not decided to withdraw troops from our borders, but, most importantly, with Germany, France, the Netherlands and Austria, whose companies are taking part in the project. Because it was precisely the non-introduction of sanctions against the Russian gas pipeline, when it had not yet been completed, that was Germany's main requirement for mending relations after a significant aggravation during the Trump presidency.
In addition, the gas pipeline has already been completed and is awaiting certification, after which it can be put into operation. Yes, most likely this will not happen during this heating season. Although there are options here, if severe frosts come in Europe and there are not enough gas reserves in the storage facilities. And they are much less full than even last year. Putin, as expected, still refuses to increase pumping through the Ukrainian GTS, thereby forcing the Europeans to speed up the certification of the gas pipeline.
Then what is this show for? The thing is that Ted Cruz represents Texas, the state-leader in shale gas production, in the Senate. The oil and gas sector is a traditional sponsor of the Republican Party and it is he who is interested in preventing the launch of a new gas pipeline from Russia to the EU, which will only increase dependence on Russian gas supplies. Trump imposed sanctions against Nord Stream - 2 and at the same time demanded an increase in the supply of liquefied gas from the United States to the EU, where, thanks to the "shale revolution", gas production in some years exceeded gas production in the Russian Federation.
Naturally, Cruise uses the situation for his own personal gain, seeking to increase his support not only in Texas, but also among the supporters of the GOP in general. On the eve of the start of the 2016 US presidential campaign, he was almost the main candidate for the Republican nomination. But then, like "the hell out of a snuff box", Trump appeared, smashing to smithereens in the primaries all his competitors.
Now, when lawsuits against Trump's inner circle and himself continue to be considered in American courts, and the first verdicts have already been passed on the investigation of the storming of the Capitol in January 2021, there is a real possibility that the Democrats will be able to achieve their main goal. Namely - to remove Trump from participating in the presidential elections in 2024.
Accordingly, Trump's rivals in the Republican Party are starting to get a chance to run for the presidency. Indeed, during his presidential term, Trump substantially "cleaned out" competitors, and none of them even dared to nominate themselves for the 2020 primaries. They simply weren't held among the Republicans.
The Democrats, by the way, are also interested in the growth of the popularity and weight of Cruise in the Republican Party as a competitor to Trump, while the issue of his removal from the right to participate in elections in the courts has not yet been resolved and there is no exact certainty on this issue. After all, Biden's representatives have already announced that he plans to run in the presidential elections in 2024. And based on how difficult it was for him to defeat Trump in 2020, and even more so with an eye on the current low ratings of support for his policy, today it will be extremely difficult for Biden to beat Trump in the next election. To date.
Ted Cruise has far less Republican support so far than Trump and is certainly a more convenient competitor for Biden.
Therefore, it seems to me, a similar compromise was reached between Republicans and Democrats in the Senate. Cruz will unblock the appointment of ambassadors in the Senate, and in January the Democrats will put to a vote a bill on sanctions against Nord Stream - 2. As a result, the "wolves" will remain well fed, and the "sheep" are safe.
That is, both Cruz himself and the Republicans as a whole will receive electoral balls and the appearance that they have "bent" the Democrats now even in the conditions of a minority, and the Democrats will ultimately be satisfied, because they will not impose any new sanctions against Nord Stream - 2.
By the way, this is probably exactly what is connected with another important news for Ukraine in the American media. CNN reported that, according to their sources in the Biden administration, the possibility of a Russian attack on Ukraine would remain for at least another month. That is, every time until the Senate vote on new sanctions against Nord Stream - 2
Coincidence? I do not think so.