The United States and Germany on Wednesday unveiled an agreement on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline under which Berlin pledged to respond to any attempt by Russia to wield energy as a weapon against Ukraine and other central and eastern European countries.
The pact aims to mitigate what critics see as the strategic dangers of the $11 billion pipeline, now 98% complete, being built under the Baltic Sea to carry gas from Russia’s Arctic region to Germany.
US officials have opposed the pipeline, which would allow Russia to export gas directly to Germany and potentially cut off other nations, but the Biden administration has chosen not to try to kill it entirely with US sanctions.
Instead, it has negotiated a pact with Germany that aims to impose costs on Russia to prevent it from using the pipeline to harm Ukraine or other countries in the region.
“The United States and Germany are united in their determination to hold Russia to account for its aggression and malign activities by imposing costs via sanctions and other tools,” the two countries said in a joint statement.
If Russia attempts to “use energy as a weapon or commit further aggressive acts against Ukraine,” Germany will take steps on its own and push for actions at the European Union, including sanctions, “to limit Russian export capabilities to Europe in the energy sector,” the statement says.
“This commitment is designed to ensure that Russia will not misuse any pipeline, including Nord Stream 2, to achieve aggressive political ends by using energy as a weapon,” it says.
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