Germany calls on Congress not to sanction Nord Stream 2 pipeline: report

·2 min read

The German government called on members of the U.S. Congress not to sanction the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, shooting down concerns that the Russian gas line will threaten Ukrainian security, according to documents obtained by Axios.

Earlier this month, Republican Sens. James Risch (Idaho) and Ted Cruz (Texas) sponsored an amendment that would impose sanctions on Nord Stream 2 AG, owned by Russian energy giant Gazprom. The amendment would also sanction companies involved in the testing and certifying of the pipeline.

Germany said such sanctions would undermine shared commitments between the countries, as outlined in a July statement regarding support for Ukraine, European energy security and climate change.

"US Sanctions targeting Nord Stream 2 would undermine the commitment given to Germany in the Joint Statement, weaken the credibility of the US government, and endanger the achievements of the Joint Statement, including the provisions supporting Ukraine. They would ultimately damage transatlantic unity," read the documents obtained by Axios.

The Biden administration has asked Democratic lawmakers to block the amendment from Risch and Cruz, worried with antagonizing Germany.

The pipeline has been opposed by both the Biden and Trump administrations, which both expressed concerns that it would make the America's European allies overly reliant on Russian energy.

Although President Biden opposed the pipeline, he announced in May that he would be waiving sanctions on the pipeline, saying it was "counterproductive" to European relations to sanction the Nord Stream 2 when it was already nearly completed. Russia announced the pipeline's completion in September.

The pipeline bypasses Ukrainian transit infrastructure, and Axios noted that its completion eliminated one of remaining deterrents against a Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Last week, the Biden administration announced new sanctions against a ship involved the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. In the document, Germany argued that sanctions targeting Nord Stream 2, affecting a U.S.-ally, would just be a victory for Putin.

A State Department official told Axios in response to the document, "Our approach is about far more than alliance maintenance; it's about doing what will be most effective to protect and preserve Ukraine's energy security."

"Preserving relations with Berlin and standing up for Ukraine's interests isn't an either/or proposition. We're doing both in the most effective way possible," they added.

News of the appeal from the German government comes as U.S. intelligence has reported a buildup of Russian troops on the Ukraine border. Ukraine, a U.S.-ally, has warned that Russia may be preparing to invade as soon as next January or February.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said earlier this month that the U.S was preparing for a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine.

"We know the playbook of trying to cite some illusory provocation from Ukraine or any other country and using that as an excuse for what Russia plans to do all along," said Blinken.

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