The US-Germany Pipeline Deal Warns Russia, Seeking Transit Through Ukraine
The US said on Wednesday that it had achieved a deal with Germany on the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which would impose penalties on Russia and seek to prolong gas transit through Ukraine.
The pact was quickly condemned by President Joe Biden’s Republican opponents as emboldening President Vladimir Putin, but the administration said that it was attempting to obtain a good outcome from a pipeline that is almost built.
“This is a horrible scenario and a bad pipeline,” Victoria Nuland, the undersecretary of state for political affairs, said as she presented facts before a Senate hearing.
Last week, Biden met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and waived most of the restrictions imposed by Congress on Nord Stream, stating that it was too late to halt it and that it was better to collaborate with Germany.
Ukraine, which has been fighting pro-Moscow insurgents since 2014 and regards the passage of Russian gas via its territory as essential leverage, has vehemently opposed the pipeline over the Baltic Sea.
“Germany has agreed in this agreement with us that if Russia tries to use energy as a weapon or commits further aggressive acts against Ukraine, Germany will take national-level actions and press for effective European-level measures, including sanctions to limit Russian energy export capabilities to Europe,” Nuland said.
Germany has committed to join with the US to persuade Russia to extend a transit arrangement through Ukraine that is set to expire at the end of 2024 by ten years, according to Nuland.
The White House announced Wednesday that Biden will meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at the White House on August 30 in a display of strong support for Kiev.
Derek Chollet, another senior State Department official, traveled to Ukraine and Poland this week to discuss the pipeline agreement.
According to Nuland, the agreement will include “concrete” cash numbers for assisting Ukraine in diversifying its energy supply.
Germany, which had a tumultuous relationship with former President Donald Trump, has praised Biden’s arrival as a boost to the partnership.
Republicans slammed the deal, calling it a betrayal to Ukraine and an emboldening of Putin.
Senator Ted Cruz, a Republican, has been delaying the approval of crucial Biden appointees to diplomatic posts, citing worries about Nord Stream.
“We’ve always suspected Biden was in bed with Putin, and now we know for sure. Brief News from Washington Newsday.