Biden Orders Sanctions Against Nord Stream 2 AG, Corporate Officers

© AFP 2023 / ODD ANDERSENA road sign directs traffic towards the Nord Stream 2 gas line landfall facility entrance in Lubmin, north eastern Germany, on September 7, 2020.
A road sign directs traffic towards the Nord Stream 2 gas line landfall facility entrance in Lubmin, north eastern Germany, on September 7, 2020. - Sputnik International, 1920, 23.02.2022
US President Joe Biden said on Tuesday that he considered the Russian recognition of two breakaway republics in the Donets River basin and dispatching of peacekeepers there to be the beginning of a "Russian invasion of Ukraine" and issued a series of sanctions targeting Russian financial institutions.
Berlin announced on Tuesday it would halt the Nord Stream 2 liquified natural gas pipeline, which would have brought gas from Russia to Western Europe via Germany, in response to Moscow's recognition of the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics in the Donbass region the day prior.
"Today, I have directed my administration to impose sanctions on Nord Stream 2 AG and its corporate officers," Biden said in a Wednesday news release. "These steps are another piece of our initial tranche of sanctions in response to Russia's actions in Ukraine. As I have made clear, we will not hesitate to take further steps if Russia continues to escalate."
The US Treasury said it was issuing a general license authorizing a "wind down" time for transactions with the company through March 2, and added CEO Matthias Warnig to its sanctions list.
Other parts of this "first tranche" of sanctions included a ban on trading Russia's sovereign debt and sanctions against two Russian state development banks.
"This has been diplomatic kabuki theater by the Russians," US State Department spokesperson Ned Price told reporters about the crisis in Ukraine. He said the US remains open to diplomacy and negotiations, but that the Russians needed to demonstrate they are serious. So far, the US has ignored Russian articulations of their security concerns in Eastern Europe, including the eastward expansion of NATO and stationing of dangerous weapons in the region.
The decision to sanction Nord Stream 2 is a reversal of the waiver Biden issued last year, which blocked impending sanctions and infuriated US Republicans opposed to the pipeline.
US Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), who has blocked progress on the approval of Biden's diplomatic nominees in protest of the president's waiver, hailed his reversal.
“President Biden made the right decision today. Allowing Putin’s Nord Stream 2 to come online would have created multiple, cascading, and acute security crises for the United States and our European allies for generations to come,” Cruz said in a Wednesday news release. “Today’s announcement is critical to preventing such scenarios.”
The $11 billion pipeline would have doubled the delivery of Russian gas to Germany.
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