US to Waive Sanctions Related to Russia’s Nord Stream 2 Pipeline

US to Waive Sanctions Related to Russia's Nord Stream 2 Pipeline gas line landfall facility The Nord Stream 2 gas line landfall facility in Lubmin, north eastern Germany, on September 7, 2020. (ODD ANDERSEN/AFP via Getty Images)

Wednesday, 19 May 2021 08:49 AM

The Biden administration will waive sanctions on the company behind Russia's Nord Stream 2 pipeline to Europe and its chief executive, with the State Department set to deliver its report as early as Wednesday, a source told Reuters on Wednesday.

The department's review, required by Congress, concludes that Nord Stream 2 AG and CEO Matthias Warnig, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, engaged in sanctionable activity but that it was in the U.S. national interests to waive the sanctions, the source said.

The source said the administration under Democrat President Joe Biden felt it was important to send a signal about it strategic commitment to rebuilding relations with Germany, which were badly damaged under former Republican President Donald Trump.

Russian officials on Wednesday signaled that the move could help mend Washington's fraught ties with Moscow.

Republicans in Washington, however, criticized the reported waiver, which was first reported by Axios on Tuesday.

Representatives for the White House could not be immediately reached for comment.

A U.S. State Department spokesperson on Tuesday said: "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."

Blinken also spoke with Germany's Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on Tuesday, and "underscored the U.S. commitment to work with allies and partners to counter Russian efforts to undermine our collective security, and in that vein, emphasized U.S. opposition to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline," the department said.

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