Classified document sheds light on US-Germany Nord Stream 2 conciliation effort

The Nord Stream 2 landfall facilities in Russia. [Nord Stream 2 website]

A classified document which was made public reveals how Berlin is working with Washington to avoid US sanctions over the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

Germany said on Sunday (28 November) it was continuing to work closely with the United States on implementing a deal on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which has just been completed and will carry gas from Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea.

The United States and some European countries oppose the $11 billion pipeline which bypasses Ukraine. They say it would make Europe too reliant on Russian gas, but some other European governments say the link is vital to secure energy supplies.

Germany’s foreign ministry said it was working closely with the US administration on implementing a joint declaration on the pipeline.

“We fundamentally reject sanctions among allies,” it said in response to a query from Reuters about a 6-page document marked ‘classified’ obtained by Axios, which said Berlin had urged members of the US Congress not to sanction the Nord Stream 2 pipeline as doing so would “weaken” US credibility and “ultimately damage transatlantic unity”.

The Biden administration has waived sanctions on the pipeline operator and made a deal with Germany in July, although last week it imposed further sanctions targeting Russia-linked Transadria Ltd and its vessel.

US imposes further sanctions on Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, Russia calls them ‘illegal’

The Kremlin on Tuesday (23 November) said new sanctions imposed by the United States in connection with the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline were illegal and wrong, especially at a time when Moscow and Washington are attempting to rebuild dialogue.

A group of US Senate Republicans said on 8 November they had introduced legislation that would impose mandatory sanctions on Nord Stream 2.

Germany has agreed to take action if Russia uses energy as a weapon in its relations with Ukraine, but the deal does not provide a specific criteria for how that would be judged.

The 19 November document obtained by Axios outlines steps Germany would take in case of Russian aggression against Ukraine, including “strong public messages” condemning Russia’s behaviour and assessing the suspension of political meetings.

At the EU level, the document said Germany was “actively participating in the process to identify options for additional restrictive measures”, Axios said.

The document also said Nord Stream 2 presented “no threat to Ukraine as long as reasonable gas transit is ensured,” and referred to potential sanctions on the pipeline as “a victory for Putin” as it would divide Western allies, Axios added.

The document also says that Germany and the US will support investments aiming at $1 billion via the Green Fund for Ukraine, including from third states and private-sector entities. Germany will provide an initial grant to the fund of at least $175 million.

US Republicans renew push to sanction Nord Stream 2 pipeline

A group of US Senate Republicans said on Monday (8 November) they had introduced legislation that would impose mandatory sanctions on Nord Stream 2, a Russian-backed natural gas pipeline that opponents believe would be harmful to US allies in Europe.

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