Nord Stream 2 dispute: US wants to suspend sanctions | Free press

Moscow / Washington (dpa) – Russia sees a possible lifting of US sanctions against the Baltic Sea pipeline operator Nord Stream 2 as a step towards normalizing relations with Washington.

If the media report is accurate, “then there is” a touch of normalcy in US politics, “Deputy Secretary of State Sergei Ryabkov said in Moscow on Wednesday, according to the Interfax agency. The Kremlin made a similar statement. However, Peskow pointed out that there was still no official confirmation from Washington.

Background is investigation by the US news site “Axios” on Tuesday, according to which the US government wants to refrain from applying sanctions against Nord Stream 2 AG and its German director Matthias Warnig. According to an upcoming report to Congress, the US State Department only wants to impose punitive measures on a few more Russian ships. The report to Congress must be submitted every 90 days, the deadline expiring this week.

Republicans in Congress reacted indignantly after the investigation became known. The top Republican on the House of Representatives’ Foreign Affairs Committee, Michael McCaul, announced that if the “Axios” report were correct, it would be an indication that the Biden administration never really wanted to prevent the pipeline.

“This pipeline is not a simple commercial project that could affect our relations with (the government in) Berlin. It is a Russian project of malicious influence that threatens to deepen Europe’s energy dependence on Moscow, ”McCaul criticized. “If Putin’s regime is allowed to complete this pipeline, it will only be because the Biden government has decided to allow it.” Republican Senator Ben Sasse accused Biden of giving Russian President Vladimir Putin “enormous strategic power in Europe.”

“Axios” interpreted the alleged decision of Biden’s government as meaning unwilling to sever its relations with Germany because of Nord Stream 2. The near-completed Baltic Sea pipeline has been one of the main points of contention in the German-American for years. relations.

Russia sharply criticized the US actions against the near-completed pipeline. It is regrettable that the Americans themselves dictated their will to the Allies, Ryabkov said. “We consider all US sanctions against us illegal.” Moscow expects the pipeline to be completed despite punitive measures.

Last Wednesday, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov wanted to personally meet his American colleague Antony Blinken.

In a phone conversation with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on Tuesday, Blinken reiterated that the US continued to reject the pipeline from Russia to Germany, as the State Department announced in Washington. “Secretary of State Blinken underlined the US determination to work with allies and partners to counter Russia’s efforts that are undermining our collective security.”

Meanwhile, Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH) has filed a lawsuit in the Schwerin Administrative Court against the “Foundation for Climate and Environmental Protection MV”, which is funded by Nord Stream. The reason given by the DUH was that climate and environmental protection were only used as a pretext. The actual main goal of the foundation is apparently to be able to continue the Nord Stream 2 pipeline through commercial activities.

When completed, Nord Stream 2 is expected to transport 55 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year from Russia to Germany. The US fears that the project will make Europe too dependent on Russian gas. Eastern European countries such as Poland and the Baltic states are also rejecting the pipeline. Proponents object to the Americans that they are only looking for better sales opportunities for their liquefied gas in Europe.

Biden had repeatedly called Nord Stream 2 a “bad deal for Europe”. At the end of 2019, construction work on the pipeline, which was well advanced, was halted after the US enacted an initial sanctions law (Peesa) against the special ships laying the pipelines. In a second law (Peesca) the sanction options were made much wider. Both laws were backed by both Republicans and Democrats in Congress.

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