Biden Administration Waives Sanctions on Nord Stream 2; Continues To Oppose It
June 1, 2021 Maritime Safety News
While the State Department admits to taking sanctionable actions as the initiative’s developers, the Biden administration has waived sanctions fines for Nord Stream 2 AG of Switzerland and its CEO, Matthias Warnig. The decision benefits pipeline supporter Gazprom and its majority shareholder, the government of Russia.
In a statement released on Wednesday, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken stated, “I have decided that it is in the national interest of the United States to waive the application of sanctions against Nord Stream 2 AG, its CEO Matthias Warnig, and Nord Stream 2 AG’s corporate officers.”
According to Blinken’s message, the State Department has authorized nine more ships from Russia’s Marine Rescue Service that are allegedly interested in the pipeline’s development. Opponents argue that since the boats are owned by the Russian government, the measure has little bearing on the project’s progress.
While Biden’s White House says it opposes Nord Stream2, it emphasizes its partnership with Germany’s government, which strongly supports the pipeline’s construction. According to sources close to the State Department’s decision-making, the US is unwilling to jeopardize its relations with Germany over the initiative, considering the detrimental effects on US-allied Ukraine and Poland once the line is completed.
The Nord Stream 2 pipeline will circumvent the current pipeline network in Eastern Europe and carry Russian natural gas directly to Germany’s Baltic Sea coast. Its critics – even representatives from both parties in the U.S. Congress – fear that, as Russia shuts down the gas (and the lucrative transportation fees for its pipeline), it might use the new path to supply Europe.
Despite existing US sanctions, Russian ships proceed to operate the pipe in the Danish waters for the project and it is anticipated that the line will be finished by the end of this year.
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