US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced on Wednesday that Joe Biden's administration had waived sanctions on Nord Stream 2 AG, the company behind the undersea gas pipeline, and its CEO Matthias Warnig.
Polish Deputy Infrastructure Minister Marcin Horała said on Thursday that "the US sanctions decisions are bound to cause concern, especially as the move has been presented in the media as Washington in a sense consenting to Nord Stream 2."
Horała noted, however, that "it’s not that there will be no sanctions at all, but only a certain category of financial punishments has been waived, while others have been upheld and even extended, such as those on ships,” according to Polish website energetyka24.com.
Polish Deputy Infrastructure Minister Marcin Horała. Photo: PAP/Paweł Supernak
Republican lawmakers in the United States have slammed the Biden administration's decision to waive sanctions on the company in charge of building the disputed pipeline, news media have reported.
A US State Department report sent to Congress on Wednesday concluded that Nord Stream 2 AG and Warnig, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, engaged in sanctionable activity, but Blinken immediately waived those sanctions, citing US national interests, the Reuters news agency reported.
It noted the decision came as the Biden administration seeks to rebuild ties with Germany after those were strained under Donald Trump's presidency.
The US State Department has instead slapped sanctions on four Russian ships, including the pipe-laying vessel Akademik Cherskiy, while also imposing measures on five other Russian entities, including the Russian Marine Rescue Service, according to Reuters.
Blinken said in a statement on Wednesday: "Today's actions demonstrate the administration’s commitment to energy security in Europe, consistent with the President’s pledge to rebuild relationships with our allies and partners in Europe."
Nord Stream 2, designed to double the capacity of the existing Nord Stream undersea gas pipeline, is expected to send around 55 billion cubic metres of Russian natural gas a year directly to Germany under the Baltic Sea while bypassing the Baltic states, Poland and Ukraine.
Poland has strongly criticized the gas link amid concerns that the pipeline will make the European Union more dependent on Russian gas.