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News > Russia

US To Lift Sanctions on CEO, Firm Behind Russia’s Nord Stream 2

  • The Biden administration has chosen not to sanction the head of Russia’s Nord Stream 2 Pipeline project.

    The Biden administration has chosen not to sanction the head of Russia’s Nord Stream 2 Pipeline project. | Photo: Twitter/@Antiwarcom

Published 19 May 2021

According to a source close to Reuters, the Biden administration will waive sanctions on the company developing Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline to Europe as well as its chief executive.

The source familiar with the plans told Reuters on Wednesday that the Biden administration has waived sanctions on the company behind Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline to Europe, along with its chief executive, and that the United States Department of State is set to deliver a report as early as Wednesday.

The department’s review, required by Congress, concludes that Nord Stream 2 AG and CEO Matthias Warnig, close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, allegedly engaged in sanctionable activity but that it was in the U.S.’s national interest to waive the sanctions, the source told Reuters.


US Prepares New Sanctions Against Nord Stream 2 Pipeline

While the Biden dministration still opposed the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, it felt it was important to send a signal about its strategic commitment to rebuilding relations with Germany, badly damaged under former Republican President Donald Trump.

Russian officials stated Wednesday that the move signalled a possible mending of Washington’s fraught ties with Moscow.

Republicans in Washington, however, condemned the waiver,  first reported by Axios on Tuesday.

Meanwhile Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas late Tuesday, highlighting Washington’s sustained opposition to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline and underscoring what he called the need for NATO allies to work together to counter Russia, according to the State Department.

A spokeswoman for the German foreign ministry stated the German government had not yet seen the report but was in close touch with the Biden administration, while Maas on Wednesday said a waiver would be a good sign.

According to a U.S. State Department spokesperson on Tuesday, “The Biden administration has been clear that the Nord Stream 2 pipeline is a Russian geopolitical project that threatens European energy security and that of Ukraine and eastern flank NATO allies and partners.”

Yet Biden’s decision to waive sanctions on Nord Stream 2 and its CEO may potentially improve US-German ties, and US officials signals it provides leverage to strengthen efforts on the two country's broader priorities of confronting China and Russia.

German officials pressed hard for this move as they argued that the overall relationship with the U.S. was too important to sacrifice over what it described as merely a commercial project.

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