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US and Germany reach deal on controversial pipeline that Biden sees as Russian ‘geopolitical project’

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“While we remain against the pipeline, we have come to the conclusion that sanctions would not stop its construction and risked undermining a crucial alliance with Germany, as well as with the EU and other European allies,” said a senior official at the pipeline. Ministry of Foreign Affairs Wednesday.

The announcement is unlikely to end bitter divisions over the pipeline, as US lawmakers condemn the agreement, Ukrainian officials immediately consider saying they are filing diplomatic protests, and even the US recognizes that its opposition to the project remains steadfast.

“I would just like to say emphatically that we are still against Nord Stream 2, we still believe it is a Russian geopolitical malicious influence project, and none of that has changed,” the senior official said.

In an effort to prevent Russia from using the pipeline to increase Europe’s dependence on its energy supply, Germany has agreed to take a series of measures designed to mitigate the risks to European energy security, to Ukraine and to the countries of the European Union. and NATO which are close to Russian borders. In the past, Russia has cut off energy supplies to other countries, including Ukraine.

“Germany has really committed to act quickly,” the senior official said in a conversation with reporters. “There are a number of tools available to Germany and the EU to resist Russian aggression or malicious activity.”

‘Differences’

“We may have disagreements over Nord Stream 2, but we are united in curbing Russian aggression,” the senior official said.

The pipeline, which was more than 90% complete when the Biden administration took office and would transport gas from Russian fields to Germany via the Baltic Sea, has sparked bipartisan anger and opposition in Congress, where some lawmakers have accused the U.S. heavily armed Ukraine to accept the settlement.

“We are not threatening our partners,” the senior foreign ministry official said, adding that the government has engaged Ukraine for consultations with Germany and expects to cooperate trilaterally with Ukraine.

Ukrainian officials immediately registered their disappointment and disapproval, and the country’s foreign minister took to Twitter.

“Under Art. 274 of the Ukraine-EU Association Agreement, Ukraine officially starts consultations with the EU Commission and Germany on NS2, which threatens the security of Ukraine and violates the diversification principle of the EU Energy Union,” wrote Dmytro Kuleba. “Notes to Brussels and Berlin have already been sent.”

Lawmakers also made clear their displeasure. The lead Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Jim Risch, said in a statement that “no congressman supports the completion of this pipeline.”

sen. Jeanne Shaheen, the New Hampshire Democrat who co-authored legislation to halt construction of Nord Stream 2, said the pipeline would empower Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin.

“Germany is a vital ally of the US and I welcome the steps taken by the government to try to find a diplomatic way forward and consult with our European allies to mitigate the impact of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project,” said Shaheen in a statement. “However, I am not yet convinced that this agreement – or any bilateral agreement – can provide sufficient guarantees to our European allies and minimize the significant economic impact and security implications of the completion of this pipeline. I have long argued that the Nord Stream 2 pipeline must not be completed because it will allow the Kremlin to spread its evil influence across Eastern Europe, threaten the economic security of our European partners and endanger our global stability. I continue to believe that.”

The senior official said the pipeline is currently about 95% complete, but would not say when it could become operational, whether the Biden administration would lift existing sanctions or threaten to lift the waiver of the sanctions imposed on it in May. company was issued to withdraw. building the pipeline and the German CEO.

The senior State Department official repeatedly pointed out that the Trump administration chose to impose only two sanctions on the pipeline, and that it waited until the very last day in office to do so. The Biden government has imposed 19 sanctions on entities and ships associated with the pipeline.

“Even after Congress passed the bipartisan legislation… in both 2017 and 2019, the previous administration has not applied any sanctions related to the pipeline until its very last day in office,” the senior official said. “The previous administration could have used a number of sanctions… but chose not to.”

CNN’s Michael Conte and Kylie Atwood contributed to this report.

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