The White House said on Tuesday that Germany had made commitments about the Nord Stream 2 pipeline in the event of aggressive acts by Russia, the Reuters news agency reported.
US President Joe Biden told Russian President Vladimir Putin during a virtual summit on Tuesday that the West was concerned Russia would invade Ukraine and warned of "strong economic and other measures" as punishment should Moscow start a military conflict, the White House said in a statement.
US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin hold a video call on Tuesday. Photo: EPA/SERGEY GUNEEV/SPUTNIK/KREMLIN
Biden administration officials have told members of Congress they have an understanding with Germany about shutting down Nord Stream 2, which runs from Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea, if Russia moves to invade Ukraine, Reuters reported, citing a senior congressional aide.
US national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters that the fact that "gas is not currently flowing through the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which means that it’s not operating" created "leverage for the West" over Putin.
"Indeed, it is leverage for the West, because if Vladimir Putin wants to see gas flow through that pipeline, he may not want to take the risk of invading Ukraine," Sullivan told reporters at the White House.
He said the US administration had held "intensive discussions with both the outgoing and incoming German governments on the issue of Nord Stream 2 in the context of a potential invasion."
He added: "I’m not going to characterize it beyond that, other than it is an object of great priority for the Biden administration."
Pipes for the construction of the Nord Stream 2 Baltic Sea gas pipeline and the Russian ship Akademik Cherskiy seen at the German port of Mukran in September last year. Photo: EPA/CLEMENS BILAN
The German government last month urged members of the US Congress not to sanction Russia’s contested Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline under the Baltic Sea, a US-based news website reported at the time.
The United States and Germany in the summer struck a deal whereby they agreed to end a long-standing dispute over the controversial pipeline, which is designed to bring Russian gas directly to Germany under the Baltic Sea while bypassing eastern European countries.
Under that deal, the United States agreed to suspend sanctions on companies involved in the project, while Germany pledged to take a series of measures against Russia should Moscow use the new pipeline to harm Ukraine or other eastern European countries.
Polish President Andrzej Duda said in July that the US-German agreement, which allowed the completion of Russia’s Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline to Germany, posed a risk to the security of a large portion of Europe.
Source: PAP, energetyka24.com, Reuters, whitehouse.gov
Click on the audio player above for a report by Radio Poland's Tomasz Ferenc.