Picking Up Where Trump Left Off, Biden Threatens Sanctions On Germany For Nord Stream 2

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by Tyler Durden
Wednesday, Mar 24, 2021 - 04:15 AM

Like on many other fronts, most especially China and surprisingly even Iran (which has also left tensions in Iraq at boiling-point), the Biden White House appears content to continue Trump's unbending policy stance on the Russia to Germany Nord Stream-2 pipeline. It was of course the Trump administration that unleashed a series of punitive measures targeting any Western company that attempts to complete work on the project, which did serve to stall its completion, which is said to be at least over 90% constructed. 

And now on Tuesday Secretary of State Antony Blinken is threatening Germany with new Biden administration sanctions over the project. Blinken was cited in US-funded RFERL (RadioFreeEurope) as saying it remains "against the European Union's own interests" and publication emphasized he "warned Berlin of possible sanctions over the project."

"President (Joe) Biden has been very clear, he believes the pipeline is a bad idea, bad for Europe, bad for the United States, ultimately it is in contradiction to the EU's own security goals," Blinken said while meeting with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg in Brussels.

The publication noted that "Blinken said he will warn his German counterpart Heiko Maas of possible sanctions at their first face-to-face meeting on March 23."

Washington has vehemently opposed the ambitious project for years as it believes it "punishes" key Eastern European allies like Ukraine in bypassing them altogether as a conventional transit point for Russia to Europe gas delivery, and thus deprives them of badly needed energy transit fees:

Blinken mentioned a U.S. law that required the United States to impose sanctions on companies participating in the Nord Stream 2 project, which he said "has the potential to undermine the interests of Ukraine, Poland, and a number of close partners and allies."

Germany meanwhile has vowed to see the project through, even after some major European pipelaying companies bowed out due to US sanctions, which even targeted their executives should they continue to participate. 

At the start of 2021 Russia energy giant Gazprom issued a report estimating that only 6% of the pipeline remains till completion. This is equal to about 150kim, which Russia has vowed to see through to finish.

While prior US sanctions have been shrugged off, though sometimes with temporary stoppages, Gazprom and Russian officials have recently sounded the alarm over the growing "risk" that the project could be suspended altogether if more Washington sanctions are piled on.