Politico: “Biden administration is keen to maintain a good relationship with the German government.”
Ahead of next month’s summit between President Joe Biden and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, the White House has waived key sanctions linked to the Russian-German Nordstream 2 gas pipeline. “The Biden administration has decided against sanctioning the company in charge of building the pipeline,” CNN reported.
As part of the move, the Biden administration seeks to exempt Nord Stream-chief Matthias Warnig, a close confidant of Putin and former member of the East German secret service Stasi, German public broadcaster DW News confirmed on Wednesday:
United States President Joe Biden will waive sanctions against certain major parties involved in the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany, US media reported Tuesday.
The State Department will inform Congress of the entities that deserve sanctions for their involvement, but it will waive sanctions against two key players so as not to compromise US relations with Germany, according to sources cited by news website Axios.
The company Nord Stream 2 AG and its CEO Matthias Warnig — a former East German intelligence officer and close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin — will not face sanctions despite their sanctionable activities, Axios reported.
Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov called the possible waiver of sanctions a step towards normalizing relations between Moscow and Washington, Ifax reported.
The Biden administration, which has previously expressed its intention to prevent the pipeline’s completion, is instead expected to impose sanctions on several Russian ships involved in construction.
The Biden White House’s decision not only reverses former President Donald Trump’s policy on Europe, but it is also in sharp contrast with the stance taken by his own Secretary of State, Antony Blinken. “It undermines basic EU principles in terms of energy security and energy independence,” Blinken said in March, “It poses a challenge to Ukraine, to Poland, to other countries that we care about.”
The news will please not only Kremlin but also German Chancellor Angela Merkel. “Biden administration is keen to maintain a good relationship with the German government,” Politico noted while reporting the waiver on Tuesday.
The decision appears to be part of Biden’s promise of ‘earning back’ the trust of European powers after four years of Trump’s presidency. “I know the past few years have strained and tested our Transatlantic relationship, but the United States is determined, (…) to earn back our position of trust and leadership,” he said in his first public address to the European leaders in February.
The 760-mile Baltic Sea pipeline, nearing its completion, will allow direct Russian gas supply to Germany and other countries of Western Europe. This will be a game-changer for the Putin regime making Europe energy-dependent on Russia. More than 40 percent of gas exported to European Union countries already comes from Russia.
The mega-pipeline is not solely a Putin-run operation. The German political and corporate establishment is equally embedded in Moscow’s strategy to dominate Europe’s energy supply. Former German Chancellor and Merkel’s predecessor, Gerhard Schröder, serves as the chairman of Nord Streams AG. Kremlin-controlled energy giant Gazprom controls 51 percent of the company, followed by Germany-based companies Wintershall DEA GmbH and E.ON, which hold 31 percent of the stake.
Trump had repeatedly warned of the security threat posed by Europe’s growing energy dependence on Russia. “Germany, as far as I’m concerned, is captive to Russia because it’s getting so much of its energy from Russia,” Trump said during the July 2018 NATO summit in Belgium. Germany pays “billions of dollars to Russia, and we have to defend them against Russia,” he added referring to the Nordstream pipeline.
The latest White House decision is part of the Biden administration’s attempts to undo Trump’s legacy. Biden’s dealings with the Iranian regime have already reversed the movement towards peace in the Middle East — signified by the Trump-sponsored Abraham accords framework between Israel and the Arab countries.
President Trump at 2018 NATO summit: Germany is a “captive of Russia’
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