Biden defends lifting sanctions on Russia’s major gas pipeline

President Joe Biden defended his administration’s decision to lift sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which carries natural gas from Russia to Germany and Europe on Tuesday.

The president opposed the project from the beginning, but said the pipeline was almost complete.

“I think going ahead and imposing sanctions would be counterproductive from the perspective of our European relations. They know how strong I feel,” Biden said in a reporter outside the White House. I told the group.

In late 2019, Congress and the Trump administration approved a number of organizations involved in the construction of the $ 10.5 billion pipeline. Sanctions are part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), whose goal is to prevent Russia from using Nord Stream 2 “as a tool of coercion and political influence” to shift energy exports. It states that it is “minimizing ability.” From Ukraine to other countries. Russia vowed to continue the project at that time.

Earlier this month, the Biden administration waived sanctions on the CEO and the company, which oversees the construction of the project. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the company’s Nord Stream 2 AG and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin’s ally Matthias Wanich have taken sanctions in announcing the waiver of sanctions.

The news of the exemption attracted criticism from both sides of the aisle.

“I am against the Biden administration’s decision to waive sanctions on NS2AG and Matthiaswanich,” said Senator Bob Menendez (DN.J.). statement May 19th.

“I urge the administration to remove band-aids, lift these exemptions, and proceed with the sanctions mandated by Congress. The government is a bad idea for the pipeline and Russia’s malicious intent. I say it’s an impact project. I share that feeling, but I don’t know how today’s decision will advance US efforts to counter Russia’s invasion in Europe. “

Senator Jim Riche (R-Wis.) Said the exemption would be “a gift to Putin that would only weaken US leverage leading up to the impending Biden-Putin summit.”

The Biden administration was previously accused of not mentioning many of the entities involved in the construction of the pipeline in a report on the pipeline released in February. Instead, the administration sanctioned ships that had already been sanctioned under President Donald Trump.

Zachary Stieber and Isabel Van Brugen contributed to this report.

Posted on