Wednesday 21 July 2021 8:33 pm

US drops opposition to Nord Stream 2 pipeline

The US and Germany have today struck a deal allowing the completion of the controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which has long been a bone of contention between the two countries.

In return for the $11bn pipeline being finished, the two will invest $200m into energy security in Ukraine, as well as renewable energy sources across Europe.

Critics of the pipeline have warned that it will increase the bloc’s dependency of Russian gas as well as cutting off crucial revenue streams from Ukraine.

The pipeline, which will carry gas from Russia to Germany beneath the Baltic Sea, means Russia will not need to send its gas through Ukraine to get to the west.

Previous US administrations had urged Germany to cancel it, but in May Joe Biden’s White House dropped existing sanctions against the company running the project.

A US state department official told reporters that under the deal, Germany had committed to “take action at the national level and press for effective measures at the European level, including sanctions to limit Russian export capabilities to Europe in the energy sector” if Russia sought to use the pipeline as a weapon.

German foreign minister Heiko Maas welcomed the agreement, writing on Twitter: “I am relieved that we have found a constructive solution regarding Nord Stream 2 with the United States.

“We will help Ukraine build up a green energy sector and push to secure gas transit through Ukraine in the coming decade.”

But Ukraine said that it had initiated consultations with Germany and the EU over the project, which it said threatens the country’s security.

The White House will host Volodymyr Zelenskyy next month, it was announced today.