Joseph Biden’s administration imposed and immediately suspended sanctions against the operator of the Nord Stream 2 project, Nord Stream 2 AG, and its CEO Matthias Warnig, according to the State Department’s report sent to Congress on Wednesday, May 19. U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez confirmed that the document had been received.
“I have determined that it is in the national interest of the United States to waive the application of sanctions on Nord Stream 2 AG, its CEO Matthias Warnig, and Nord Stream 2 AG’s corporate officers.” said U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
Robert Menendez was critical of the decision. “The administration has said that the pipeline is a bad idea and that it is a Russian malign influence project. I share that sentiment, but fail to see how today’s decision will advance U.S. efforts to counter Russian aggression in Europe," Menendez said.
At the same time, the State Department approved the imposition of sanctions against four vessels - Baltic Explorer, Vladislav Strizhov, Yury Topchev and Akademik Chersky, CBS reported citing an unnamed interlocutor from the U.S. Congress. According to CBS, four companies were also subject to restrictive measures.
The United States, Ukraine and the Baltic countries actively oppose the construction of the gas pipeline, fearing increased Influence of Russia in the European energy market. Washington has imposed sanctions on firms involved in the pipeline. At the same time, the German government supports Nord Stream 2, although there are many of its critics.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Mas welcomed Washington's position, calling it a step towards Berlin. According to the German minister, Nord Stream 2 is the only topic on which there are fundamental differences between the two countries.