The Biden administration is planning to waive sanctions against the company in charge of building the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline from Russia into Germany, according to a new report.
What are the details?
Axios reported Tuesday that according to two sources briefed on the matter, the State Department is set to submit its 90-day report to Congress detailing which entities linked to Nord Stream 2 “deserve sanctions.”
“The State Department will also acknowledge the corporate entity in charge of the project — Nord Stream 2 AG and its CEO, the Putin crony and former East German intelligence officer Matthias Warnig — are engaged in sanctionable activity,” the outlet noted, adding, “However, the State Department will waive the applications of those sanctions, citing U.S. national interests.”
The move would be an about-face from former President Donald Trump’s position on the pipeline, but it would also appear to go against Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s declaration during his confirmation hearing that he was “determined to do whatever we can to prevent that completion” of the project.
The Hill pointed out that the “completion of the pipeline would allow fuel from Russia to bypass Ukraine to reach Europe, undermining the nation’s connection to western Europe.”
In order to stop the project — which is 95% complete and could be finished this summer — the Biden administration has determined they would need to sanction German citizens, a move they are not willing to make because of the damage it could cause to U.S.-German relations.
How are people reacting?
Reactions to the news were mixed on social media.
Journalist Glenn Greenwald tweeted, “This is genuinely a huge gift to Putin: Biden is waiving sanctions which will effectively allow Germany to buy natural gas from the Russian pipeline. Trump spent years trying to sabotage this deal: crucial to Russian interests. Biden is allowing it.”
“Good,” one person replied. “Sanctioning Europe for where it buys its gas is insane.”
Greenwald responded, “Of course. But so was the four-year narrative that Putin controlled Trump, especially given Trump’s argument that Germany should buy natural gas from the US, not Russia, given NATO expenditures to protect Germany. But the media didn’t care.”
Another individual weighing in on the Axios article wrote, “Wait, wasn’t Trump supposed to have been the Russian agent?”