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Putin triumphs as Washington DC lifts sanctions against Russian gas warming Europe

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A much chastened US ‘President’ Joe Biden has capitulated in the years long struggle to sanction Russian gas getting to Europe. What next, surrendering to Iranian demands to lift embargoes on their drive for nuclear equality with the western world?

The final construction phase of the Nordstream 2 pipeline now seems virtually unstoppable after President Joe Biden capitulated and dropped the threat of sanctions against the Russian-German project.

US-based Axios news service has reported that Biden had decided to suspend sanctions against Nord Stream 2 AG Company and its director Matthias Waring. The news portal received information concerning Biden’s decision from two independent sources close to the White House.

Biden’s decision is to be included in the report on the subject which the president presents to the US Congress every 90 days. Each version of the report includes a list of companies and persons who currently have sanctions imposed on them.

The report is to state that while Russian ships responsible for laying the pipeline will still be affected by sanctions, the main Russian-Germany company conducting the whole construction will be sanction-free.

The report is to also include a statement that the White House’s decision lies ‘within the USA’s national interests’. Axios interprets this as an indirect indication that the US fears antagonising the already beleaguered Angela Merkel’s regime in context of the pipeline.

According to Axios, the paper asked the spokesperson of the US Department of State to comment on the report, but they refused. However, the spokesperson assured that when it comes to Nord Stream 2, the US’s position remains unchanged.

The Ukraine regime in Kiev may have to reconsider their antagonist attitude towards their Russian neighbours. This decision means that the highly profitable pipelines crossing Ukraine to Europe are not quite as secure as they were before Biden caved in to Russian reality.

‘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,’ the spokesperson said.

If Axios’s sources are correct, then this seems like an attempt by the US to save face while at the same time achieving an agreement with Berlin over not interfering in the completion of the pipeline.

Washington will therefore most likely maintain its critical rhetoric concerning the entire project and US diplomats may even push this criticism further. Yet, in the name of ‘national interest’, Biden’s priority to maintain a close relationship with Berlin means he will withdraw from Donald Trump’s earlier decisions which realistically hindered the pipeline’s completion.

Maintaining sanctions against the Nord Stream 2 AG company would have meant that every foreign subject cooperating with it would risk penal consequences under American law. The decision to suspend the sanctions effectively releases the Nord Stream 2 AG’s partners from a threat that could have effectively halted construction on the pipeline. 

Moreover, the company’s director, Matthias Waring, is an old friend of Vladimir Putin from the times of East Germany. He used to be a STASI officer codenamed ‘Arthur’ with whom Putin recruited West German citizens to cooperate with the Soviet KGB. Officially, Waring has denied such cooperation with Putin during their work in East Germany.

Regardless, there is speculation that releasing Waring from American sanctions could be a favourable gesture towards Russia’s president.

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