United States President Joe Biden's administration and the German government have reached a preliminary agreement regarding the controversial Russia-to-Europe gas pipeline that Ukraine, Poland, Republicans, and Democrats have openly opposed.
The outlines of the deal would allow Russia to complete the Nord Stream 2 pipeline without the U.S. handing out sanctions to Germany or Russia. However, in exchange, the U.S. and Germany will coordinate with Ukraine and Poland for concessions that they can provide. It was not immediately clear if the two latter nations would welcome the decisions on the matter.
Nord Stream 2 Gas Pipeline
As early as Wednesday, administration officials are expected to make an announcement regarding the deal, refusing to answer questions beforehand. On Monday, the State Department said one senior diplomat will be sent to Poland and Ukraine this week in order to discuss specifics about the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline and its implications to international relations.
Biden's administration has struggled to maintain foreign policy diplomacy amid the construction of Nord Stream 2. Many officials from both political parties have long expressed their concern that Russia could use the gas pipeline to take control of European gas supplies, essentially giving it the power to shut off gas to Poland and Ukraine, which are considered Russian adversaries, Yahoo News reported.
The construction of the project is almost finished, and American lawmakers are desperate to reconnect with their German allies that have been pushed away during former President Donald Trump's presidency.
Biden has also tackled the topic of Ukraine relations as a delicate political topic. Trump's first impeachment was founded on his attempts to find information against the Democrat by pressuring Ukraine. However, the Senate later acquitted the Republican of the allegations.
Under the agreement, Germany will be required to assist Ukraine in energy-related projects and diplomacy. Biden waived sanctions against Nord Stream 2 in an effort to rebuild relations with Europe and Berlin in particular.
Shift in Approach
The deal means that Russia will be able to nearly double its production of natural gas and export it directly to German companies via the pipeline constructed beneath the Baltic Sea, bypassing an existing route that runs through Ukraine. One person familiar with the deal said it was close to being finished and could be announced in the next few days. Another person said it could be disclosed as early as Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Germany and the U.S. made a four-point agreement that would fund $50 million into supporting Ukrainian green-tech infrastructure. The program would include renewable energy and related industries. Additionally, German officials would support energy discussions in the Three Seas Initiative, a Central European diplomatic forum.
If Russia utilizes its control over the energy supply to conduct acts of aggression against Ukraine, the deal would have Germany retaliate and defend the nation. The region would impose sanctions to limit Russia's energy exports, the accord said.
Previously, Biden's administration wished to stop the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline completely. However, the shift in approach can be attributed to fears of declining relations with the German government, Aljazeera reported.