Biden waives US sanctions on Russian pipeline

Biden waives US sanctions on Russian pipeline
The Fortuna is a pipe-laying ship working on the Nord Stream 2 project. Source: REUTERS
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Daily US Times: President Joe Biden’s administration has waived sanctions on a Russian company building a controversial gas pipeline between Russia and Germany.

The United States also lifted sanctions on a Russian President Vladimir Putin ally who leads the company behind the Nord Stream 2 project.

The decision came in a report on Russian sanctions delivered to Congress on Wednesday by the Department of State.

Critics say the pipeline is a major geopolitical prize for Russia.

The pipeline project, which would take gas from the Russian Arctic under the Baltic Sea to Germany, is already more than 95% complete.

The Department of State report notes that Nord Stream 2 AG and Matthias Warnig, its chief executive and a former East German intelligence officer, engaged in sanctionable activity.

But it concludes that it is in the United States’ national interest to waive the sanctions.

The Department of State also imposed sanctions on four Russian ships involved in the building of the pipeline, though detractors said that wouldn’t be enough to stop the pipeline.

President Joe Biden has said he opposes the $11bn project. US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said during his confirmation hearing that he was “determined to do whatever we can to prevent that completion” of Nord Stream 2.

America’s top diplomat met his Russian counterpart on Wednesday at an international summit in Iceland.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Russia and the US had “serious differences”, but should work together “in spheres where our interests collide”.

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