For the past year, U.S. officials and Russia hawks on Capitol Hill have closely watched the peregrinations of a Russian ship, as it sailed from Russia’s Far East around Africa to the Baltic Sea. The vessel—a nearly 500-foot pipe-layer named the Akademik Cherskiy—is the sole Russian-owned ship capable of completing an $11 billion pipeline. Nord Stream 2 is designed to carry natural gas under the Baltic from Russia to Germany, but its construction has been stalled for a year by the threat of U.S. sanctions. As the Akademik Cherskiy shuttled between an anchor point off Russia’s Kaliningrad and the German port of Mukran, a staging point for the pipeline, in recent months, U.S. officials readied broader sanctions. Members of Congress agreed this month on measures intended to thwart the Akademik Cherskiy and bury Nord Stream 2. Should those sanctions prevail, it would likely foil a Kremlin-backed project that the […]