Biden was fired by Congress after abandoning sanctions on a Russian gas pipeline company

Washington- Biden administration Decided to abandon Sanctions Against a company that oversees the construction of Russia’s Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline in Germany, despite bipartisan opposition in parliament and appeals from the Eastern European government.

Republican lawmakers immediately accused Russia’s President Vladimir Putin of having brought a big political victory. The Democrats urged the White House to rethink, and the Kremlin called the news a “positive signal.”

The State Department announced the decision in a report to Parliament.The movement is First reported by Axios..

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the sanctions “will adversely affect relations between the United States and Germany, so the Russian-owned company behind the pipeline, Nord Stream 2 AG, Germany’s CEO, Matthias Warnig, and other enforcement We have chosen to waive sanctions on our officers. EU and other European allies and partners. “

WarnigA former East German Stasi intelligence agent, Putin’s longtime ally, he has served on the board of auditors of major Russian companies.

According to the State Department’s report, “close cooperation” with Germany, the European Union and other European countries will tackle the Covid-19 pandemic, promote global economic recovery, combat climate change, and others. It is important for the US efforts to address the challenges of. Malicious behavior by Russia and China. “

Senator Bob Menendez, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, condemned the decision in a bitter statement.

“I oppose the Biden administration’s decision to waive sanctions on NS2AG and Matthiaswanich. I urge the government to strip Band-Aid, lift these exemptions and proceed with the sanctions mandated by Congress. I will, “said Menendez.

“The government has a pipeline Bad idea And that it is a malicious influence project in Russia. I share that feeling, but I don’t know how today’s decision will advance US efforts to counter Russia’s invasion in Europe. “

Menendez asked, “What does the administration now expect from Germany after making this important concession to exercise the exemption?” “It creates uncertainty in many parts of Europe and we look forward to hearing from the government soon about future plans,” he said.

Senator Jeanne Chaheen, DN.H. Expressed “disappointment”.

“The completion of this pipeline threatens the stability of US security interests and regional partners. The administration should support its commitment to Congress. It will be used to prevent its completion,” Shaheen said in a statement. You should take advantage of every possible option. “

Members of both European government and parliamentary parties strongly oppose the project, but the German Chancellor Angela Merkel administration He quietly urged the government not to impose sanctions that would prevent the completion of the pipeline that runs under the Baltic Sea to Germany.

The Biden administration sought to balance the need to counter Russia, which wanted to restore its terrible tensions with Germany during the Trump administration. However, critics said the administration failed to fulfill its vow to confront Moscow, and that the move would have a valuable impact on Putin on Ukraine and other Eastern European countries.

“It shows that it is less important to confront Russia in the end,” said John Herbst, a retired career diplomat who was the US ambassador to Ukraine. “It really falls short of Biden’s” I’m strict with Russia “stance. “

Herbst said there was still time to change course and political backlash among Democrats at Capitol Hill could change the White House’s calculations.

Some career diplomats opposed the decision, but the White House dismissed their opposition, two sources familiar with the argument said.

Russia now needs to transport natural gas to Europe via Ukraine. Opponents of Herbst and other projects say the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline bypasses Ukraine, steals transportation revenues and is potentially vulnerable to Russia’s aggression.

A report to Parliament issued Wednesday required the Department of State to list the entities involved in the Nord Stream 2 project, which deserves sanctions, as required under recently passed legislation. The State Department has told Congress that it will sanction eight ships that are helping build the pipeline.

The report acknowledges that the company running the project, Nord Stream 2AG, and its CEO, Warnig, are involved in the sanctions. However, the government said it had decided to waive sanctions on Russian-owned companies, Wanich and other executive officers.

The decision could punish vessels working in the pipeline, but punish the Swiss-based Nord Stream 2 AG, owned by Russian state-owned oil giant Gazprom, the contractor. Means no.

In a statement, Blinken said the decision “in line with the president’s commitment to rebuild relations with European allies and partners, demonstrating the administration’s commitment to European energy security.” .. He added that the administration would continue to oppose the completion of the pipeline: “Our opposition to the NordStream2 pipeline is unwavering.”

Blinken met with his Russian counterpart, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, in Iceland on Wednesday.

The Russian-Germany pipeline has been a source of tension between Washington and Berlin for many years. Chancellor Merkel argues that it is a purely commercial issue that should not be the subject of geopolitics or related to human rights issues.

Nord Stream 2 doubles Russia’s natural gas shipments to Germany and provides cheap energy to German industry as Germany moves from coal and nuclear to renewable energy.

The pipeline is more than 90% complete, and opponents argued that it could be completed without quick action.

Poland and Ukraine have publicly and privately appealed to the Biden administration in recent months to act swiftly to shut down the pipeline.

“We continue to look forward to the United States taking decisive action to stop the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline,” the Polish Embassy in Washington said in an email Wednesday. “It’s not too late.”

“Many countries are visibly marked by geopolitics with the aim of strengthening Russia’s position as a major gas supplier to Europe and undermining energy security in Ukraine and the region as a whole. We recognize Nord Stream 2 as a project. “

Germany’s opinions are mixed, and in the September federal elections, the new government could change the country’s policy on Nord Stream 2. The Greens are voting ahead of Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, and its leader Annarena Bearbock says Germany should reject the project, which states that the EU should reject Russia’s actions in Ukraine. Given the sanctions imposed on.

“This pipeline is inconsistent with our sanctions and cannot be implemented,” Baerbock said at a virtual event hosted by the Europa-Center of the Atlantic Council think tank from Berlin on May 6. “Cannot start.”

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the first report on the sanctions decision was a “positive sign” if it turned out to be true.

Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said that abandoning the sanctions “will create an opportunity for a gradual transition towards normalization of our bilateral relations,” news agency TASS reported.

Republican lawmakers jumped at the decision, accusing the administration of weakness, opposition to parliament, and failure to follow harsh rhetoric about Russia.

“Stunning. Contrary to US law, Biden is actively helping Putin build a pipeline.” Tweet Senator Ted Cruz, R-Texas. “Objectively speaking, the Biden administration is shaped to be the most pro-Russian administration of our time.”

Cruz sought to prevent Biden’s candidate from being confirmed in the State Department’s post due to delays in implementing sanctions on companies working on Nord Stream 2.

Senator Ben Sasse, a member of the intelligence committee who was critical of former President Donald Trump’s approach to Russia, said the Biden administration had made a “strategic mistake.”

“Two months ago, President Biden called Putin a’murderer’, but today he plans to give Putin, his administration, and his associates extensive strategic leverage in Europe. .. Sasse said.

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