US and Germany reach agreement on controversial pipeline that Biden sees as a Russian ‘geopolitical project’


“While we remain opposed to the pipeline, we have reached the decision that sanctions will not prevent its construction and run the risk of reducing a Important alliance with Germany, as well as with the European Union and other European allies,” a senior State Department official said on Wednesday.

The announcement is unlikely to end bitter divisions over the pipeline, with US lawmakers denouncing the agreement, Ukrainian officials immediately weighing in to say they are registering diplomatic protests and even the US The opposition to the project has been accepted.

“I will only insist that we still oppose Nord Stream 2, we still believe it is a Russian geopolitical lethal impact project, none of that has changed,” the senior official said.

In an effort to prevent Russia from using the pipeline to increase European dependence on its energy supply, Germany has agreed to take a number of measures to reduce risks to European energy security, Ukraine and the EU and NATO countries. Russian borders. In the past, Russia has cut energy supplies to other countries, including Ukraine.

“Germany is really committed to taking quick action,” the senior official told reporters. “Germany and the EU have many tools to push back against Russian aggression or malicious activities.”

‘Difference’

“We may have differences of opinion over Nord Stream 2, but we are united to back down against the Russian aggression,” the senior official said.

The pipeline, which was more than 90% complete when the Biden administration took over and would carry gas from Russian territories to Germany via the Baltic Sea, has generated bipartisan anger and Opposition in Congress, where some lawmakers have alleged that Ukraine, armed with America’s strong weapons, is accepting the system.

“We do not threaten our allies,” the senior State Department official said, adding the administration included Ukraine on discussions with Germany, and hopes to work trilaterally with Ukraine.

Ukrainian officials immediately registered their dismay and disapproval, the country’s foreign minister took to Twitter.

“Under Art. 274 of the Ukraine-EU Association Agreement, Ukraine is officially starting consultations with the EU Commission and Germany on NS2, which threatens Ukraine’s security, of the EU Energy Union’s Diversification Principle Violates,” wrote Dimitro Kuleba. “Notes have already been sent to Brussels and Berlin.”

MPs also expressed their displeasure. Republican Senator Jim Riske, who heads the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in a statement that “not a single member of Congress supports the completion of this pipeline.”

Sen. Jean Shahin, the New Hampshire Democrat who co-wrote Nord Stream 2 to halt construction, said the pipeline would empower Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin.

In a statement, Shaheen said: “Germany is an important US ally and I welcome the steps taken by the Administration to negotiate diplomatic avenues and consult with our European allies to reduce the impact of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project.” I do.” “However, I am not yet convinced that this agreement – ​​or any bilateral agreement – ​​can adequately provide reassurance to our European allies and reduce the considerable economic impact and security implications of the completion of this pipeline. I has long argued that the Nord Stream 2 pipeline should not be completed because it empowers the Kremlin to spread its deadly influence across Eastern Europe, jeopardize the economic security of our European partners and threaten our global stability. puts in danger.

The senior official said the pipeline is more than about 95% complete at this point, but would not say when it could be operational, whether the Biden administration would lift existing restrictions or his threat to the company to drop the restrictions it issued in May. . Construction of Pipeline and its German CEO.

The senior State Department official has repeatedly pointed out that the Trump administration decided to impose only two sanctions against the pipeline, and waited until his last day in office to do so. The Biden administration has imposed 19 sanctions on pipeline entities and vessels.

“Even after Congress passed a bipartisan law… in both 2017 and 2019, the previous administration did not implement pipeline-related restrictions until its last day in office,” the senior official said. “The previous administration could have used a number of sanctions … but it did not.”

CNN’s Michael Conte and Kylie Atwood contributed to this report.

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