The US on Tuesday welcomed Germany’s decision to temporarily suspend the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which has been a point of controversy ever since the Biden administration decided to waive sanctions on the project’s operating company and chief executive.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Berlin had taken steps to halt the gas pipeline, which is still not operable.
Germany’s latest move comes after the West slammed Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin, for unilaterally recognizing two Moscow-backed rebel regions in Ukraine earlier in the week.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said President Joe Biden previously “made clear” that if Russia invaded Ukraine, the US would work with Germany to ensure that Nord Stream 2 did not move forward.
@POTUS made clear that if Russia invaded Ukraine, we would act with Germany to ensure Nord Stream 2 does not move forward. We have been in close consultations with Germany overnight and welcome their announcement. We will be following up with our own measures today.— Jen Psaki (@PressSec) February 22, 2022
The underwater pipeline from Russia to Germany would provide gas to Europe, bypassing Ukraine.
Last year, Secretary of State Antony Blinken appointed Amos Hochstein as his energy security advisor. Hochstein’s main task was to ensure that Russia did not use gas as a weapon, and Blinken said he would work to “reduce the risks posed by the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.”
Blinken also defended waiving sanctions in the US’ national security interest. “I think we have an opportunity to make something positive out of a bad hand that we inherited when we took office,” Blinken said last summer, placing much of the blame - as current US officials have repeatedly done - on the Trump administration.
“We have been in close consultations with Germany overnight and welcome their announcement,” Psaki tweeted early Tuesday. “We will be following up with our own measures today.”
A senior administration official said Monday that the US would announce additional sanctions to hold Russia accountable for its latest move.
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