Biden handed a “bullet” to Russia by withdrawing Nord Stream 2 sanctions

On June 4, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he was “disappointed” with US President Joe Biden’s decision to lift sanctions on Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline, leading the democratic world. Said that doing so essentially provided Russia with a “bullet”.

“we [Ukraine] I was very surprised, “said Zelensky. Told to Axios Last month, the Biden administration decided to withdraw sanctions on the company and its CEO, which oversees the construction of Russia’s Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline project.

Approximately 95% complete, this pipeline will double the capacity of existing Nord Stream ducts that carry gas from Russia to Europe via Germany under the Baltic Sea, undermining Europe’s energy security. Russia’s President Vladimir Putin completed the first of the two routes on June 3, with the majority of Russia’s state-owned energy company Gasprom “ready to fill Nord Stream 2 with gas.” Announced.

“Our understanding is that Nord Stream 2 is a weapon, and a true weapon, according to the security understanding of the United States as our strategic partner, not just in Europe. It’s the hands of the Russian Federation, “said Zelensky.

“It’s hard to understand that the bullets for this weapon could come from a great country like the United States.

Gas pipeline from Russia to Germany
A ship working off the Baltic Sea on the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline from Russia to Germany on November 11, 2018 (Bernd Wuestneck / dpa via AP)

At the end of 2019, Congress and the Trump administration imposed sanctions on many entities involved in the construction of the $ 10.5 billion pipeline. Sanctions are part of the Defense Authority Act, Russia “minimizes its ability” to use Nord Stream 2 “as a tool of coercion and political influence”, Russia shifts energy exports from Ukraine to Ukraine The goal was to prevent them from doing so. Other countries. Russia vowed to continue the project at that time.

Russia has in the past cut winter fuel supplies to Ukraine and parts of Europe during price conflicts.

In announcing the withdrawal of sanctions on Nord Stream 2 AG and its CEO Matthias Warnig (known as Putin’s ally) last month, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the company was engaged in sanctioned activities. The move was in the U.S. national interest. The statement said the U.S. continued to oppose the project, but the sanctions exemption was in line with its commitment to rebuild relations with its European allies. Stated.

The Ukrainian president said Biden provided him with a “direct signal” that the United States was ready to blockade the pipeline. In January, the President said the pipeline was “Europe.” He said he considers it a bad deal for him.

“When it comes to Nord Stream 2, I really thought that the United States remained the last post base to stand,” Zelensky said. “I understand that only the United States can stop this construction.”

Zelensky told Axios that his anger when he learned of the news at the White House press conference has now turned into disappointment.

“I learned through the media. I … well, I feel that the relationships between strategic partners should be direct,” he said.

Biden said last month that he had opposed the project from the beginning, but said the pipeline was nearing completion and noted the importance of a good relationship with Germany.

Zelensky said he understands the importance of US-German relations, but “How many Ukrainians do the US-German relations cost?”

“Even if only 1% remains [to be completed]It is still possible for Russia to stop its energy security and its serious influence on Europe as a whole, including Ukraine, in the future, “Zelensky added. “Even if you have 1% left, you need to do that.”

The President of Ukraine proposed to hold and develop a “serious dialogue, a serious roadmap” as part of a joint effort between the United States, the European Union and Ukraine.

“I want to take our relationship with the United States to a new level. Transparency, understanding of the Membership Action Plan, energy security in Ukraine … Returning our territory and our sovereignty Assistance to protect.

Zelensky added: “This is very important to us because the war is going on and our time is not in minutes, but in human life, that is, in this war today. Because it is measured by the number of people we are losing. “

White House spokesman Jen Psaki said Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet on June 16 in Geneva, Switzerland. “

Meanwhile, Zelensky, as the “guarantor of the Ukrainian Constitution,” proposed to meet with Mr. Biden “anytime, anywhere on the planet” and discuss this issue before the meeting.

“I myself am always ready to protect Ukraine,” he said.

Ivan Pentchoukov contributed to this report.

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