Biden looking to remove sanctions on Russian gas pipeline

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration has decided to waive sanctions against the company overseeing the construction of Russia’s Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline to Germany, despite bipartisan opposition in Congress and appeals from Eastern European governments.

Republican lawmakers immediately accused the administration of handing Russian President Vladimir Putin a major political victory. Democrats urged the White House to reconsider, and the Kremlin called the news a “positive signal.”

The State Department announced the decision in a report to Congress. The move was first reported by Axios.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken opted to waive sanctions against the Russian-owned company behind the pipeline, Nord Stream 2 AG, as well as its German CEO, Matthias Warnig, and other corporate officers, because sanctions “would negatively impact U.S. relations with Germany, the EU and other European allies and partners,” said the State Department report, which was obtained by NBC News.

Warnig, a longtime ally of Putin’s, is a former East German Stasi intelligence officer who has served on the supervisory boards of major Russian companies.

The State Department report said “close cooperation” with Germany, the European Union and other European countries will be critical for U.S. efforts to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic, promote a global economic recovery, fight climate change and address other challenges, including countering “malign behavior by Russia and China.”

Continue reading story at: nbcnews.com


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