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US State Department to inform Congress on May 20 about lifting of sanctions against company building Nord Stream 2, - Politico

Source : 112 Ukraine

An ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin leads the company that is building the gas pipeline
20:58, 19 May 2021

The Gazprom PJSC Slavyanskaya compressor station, the starting point of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, in Ust-Luga, Russia, in January 2020. Photographer: Andrey Rudakov
Bloomberg

The Biden administration plans to waive sanctions against an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin who heads the company that is building the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany, two people with knowledge of the move said on May 18. Politico agency reported this.

The move to invoke a national security waiver for penalties targeting the company Nord Stream 2 AG and its head Matthias Warnig will be included in a report on Russian sanctions the State Department plans to deliver to Congress on Wednesday, according to the two people.

According to the media, the move to invoke a national security waiver for penalties targeting the company Nord Stream 2 AG and its head Matthias Warnig will be included in a report on Russian sanctions the State Department plans to deliver to Congress on Wednesday, May 19 according to the two people.

It was reported earlier, in April, the administration had reversed a Justice Department decision that gave legal approval to place sanctions to Warnig amid an ongoing internal debate over which entities meet the threshold for sanctions. Warnig is also deputy chair of the board of directors of Russian oil company Rosneft.

The new move from the Biden administration is likely to draw criticism from lawmakers who have argued that several pipe-laying vessels and entities, including Nord Stream 2 AG and its CEO, could be subject to sanctions under the Protecting Europe’s Energy Security Act of 2019, known as PEESA.

The State Department’s report will call for four companies and four ships that are supporting the pipeline construction to be put on the sanctions list, sources said.

News of the waiver was first reported by Axios.

“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. “We continue to examine entities involved in potentially sanctionable activity and have made it clear that companies risk sanctions if they are involved in Nord Stream 2.”

According to Reuters, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas during a press conference on May 19 confirmed US plans to lift sanctions on Nord Stream 2 AG and Matthias Warnig.

Sanctions against firms building or financing the pipeline, which would deliver natural gas from Russia to Germany, has bipartisan support in Congress. But the Biden administration is keen to maintain a good relationship with the German government, which has supported the project.

Sanctions against the ship companies building the pipeline could still delay the completion of Nord Stream 2, which is more than 90 percent complete, the sources said. Opponents of the pipeline are also looking to the German Green Party, which has opposed the pipeline, to win seats in parliamentary elections scheduled for September.

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