US President Joe Biden said Tuesday that he had decided to lift sanctions on the company behind the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline as the project was nearing completion and it could have hurt relations with Europe.
Biden, who is preparing for his first visit to Europe and his first meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin next month, told reporters that he has spoken out against the new pipeline since its inception, but withholds sanctions because they are from the EU “almost fully completed” was the time he took office in January.
When asked why he let Germany and Russia complete the project, Biden said, “Because it’s almost complete, number one … and it’s not that I can allow Germany to do anything or not … To impose sanctions now would, I think, be counterproductive to our European relations. “
Biden, who seeks to build a united front against Russia and China, has been quick to reestablish ties with Germany and other key European allies that were badly frayed during former President Donald Trump’s tenure.
The Foreign Ministry announced last week that Nord Stream 2 AG – the German company behind the Russian gas pipeline to Germany – and its CEO Matthias Warnig, an ally of Putin, had carried out sanctionable activities, but waived these sanctions for reasons of national security. Continue reading
Biden said the Germans are aware of his concerns.
“You know how strong I feel and I hope we can work on how you handle it from now on,” he said as he left Washington for a short trip to Delaware.
Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Tuesday that she expected further talks with the US on the Nord Stream 2 project after the sanctions were lifted. Continue reading
Gazprom (GAZP.MM) and its western partners are working on the completion of the pipeline for the transport of natural gas under the Baltic Sea. The project, now 95% complete, would bypass Ukraine, deprive Ukraine of lucrative transit fees and potentially undermine its fight against Russian aggression.
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