US-German agreement on Nord Stream gas pipeline

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The United States has announced that it has reached an agreement with Germany on the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which provides for the imposition of sanctions against Russia and which aims to expand gas transit through Ukraine.

Republicans, opponents of President Joe Biden, were quick to denounce the agreement as a “gift” to President Vladimir Putin, but the US administration responded that it was trying to get a positive outcome from the nearly completed pipeline.

“It’s a bad situation and a bad pipeline, but we need to help protect Ukraine, and I feel we have taken some important steps in that direction,” said Victoria Nuland, head of political affairs at the US State Department. , when she revealed details about the agreement during a Senate hearing.

Biden, who received Chancellor Angela Merkel last week, repealed most of the sanctions related to the “Nord Stream 2” pipeline that Congress had demanded, arguing that it was too late to stop it and that it would be better to work together. to work with Germany.

The Baltic Sea pipeline project has met strong opposition from Ukraine, which has been fighting pro-Moscow separatists since 2014, and considers the transportation of Russian gas through its territory to be an essential means of pressure.

reassure Ukraine

In a show of firm support for Kiev, the US administration announced that Biden would receive Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at the White House on August 30.

Another senior State Department official, Derek Chollet, traveled to Ukraine and Poland this week to discuss the pipeline agreement.

Nuland said the deal would also include “realistic” financial figures to help Ukraine diversify its energy supply.

Germany, which has been dealing with heated disagreements with former US President Donald Trump, praised Biden’s approach as a revival of the alliance.

Republicans were quick to criticize the deal, saying it was a betrayal of Ukraine and an encouragement to Putin.

Referring to concerns about Nord Stream 2, Republican Senator Ted Cruz said, “We’ve always known that Biden and Putin always got along, and now they’re closer together.

Biden has also received criticism from Democrats for the Nord Stream 2 project, but his supporters have called the Republican attacks ridiculous, with Trump unabashedly praising Putin and expressing distaste for Ukraine in a phone call in which he tried to twist Zelensky’s arm, leading to the death of the president His first trial.

Nuland, a former career diplomat best known for supporting pro-Western protesters in Ukraine in 2013, Cruz candidly replied that the Trump administration, which took office in 2017, had a responsibility.

“I think in 2016 we were on track to stop the pipeline project,” she said. When the Biden administration took office four years later, that pipeline was 90% complete.

Welcome to Merkel

On Thursday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomed the agreement, but added that “differences” remained.

Merkel said the Nord Stream 2 deal, which threatens sanctions against Russia if it uses its energy as a weapon against Ukraine, is “a good step that shows a willingness to compromise on both sides”. But she added that “differences still exist.” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas also welcomed on Wednesday that Berlin and Washington reached an agreement on the “Nord Stream 2” gas pipeline connecting Germany and Russia, describing it as a “constructive solution”. .”

“We have reached a constructive solution regarding Nord Stream 2,” Maas said in a tweet, explaining that his country “will make efforts to ensure the transit of gas through Ukraine in the coming decade.”

Kiev and Warsaw

Kiev and Warsaw believed that the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project threatens Ukraine and all of Central Europe on “political, military (and) energy levels”.

“Such a decision creates new threats to Ukraine and Central Europe, to the political, military (and) energy levels,” Ukraine’s foreign ministers Dmytro Kuleba and Poland Zbigniew Rau said in a joint statement.

In return, Germany promised Ukraine $1 billion to switch to clean energy and reduce its dependence on Russia, a US official said Wednesday.

“Germany has committed to establishing and managing a multi-billion dollar energy fund to support Ukraine’s transition to clean energy,” the official told reporters on condition of anonymity.

Welcome

In Moscow, the Kremlin said Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed satisfaction over the imminent completion of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project during a telephone conversation.

“The two leaders are pleased that the project is nearing completion,” the Kremlin said in a statement after the meeting.

Merkel thinks the agreement is a good step, and there are still differences

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