The US Congress’ “unilateral action” on the project would “seriously weaken transatlantic unity on Russia,” said a ‘non-paper’ reportedly sent by Germany to Washington, according to the Virginia-based outlet. Axios published what appears to be a six-page confidential document used in closed discussions between governments.
In it, the Germans apparently argued that Nord Stream 2 in its current state poses “no threat” to Ukraine’s energy security – a concern that Washington claims is grounds enough for potential sanctions. Berlin also said that US sanctions would hurt American allies in Europe, including Berlin, thus weakening “the credibility of the US government” and would “endanger the achievements” the two nations made on July 21 in agreeing a Joint Statement on support of Ukraine.
The paper apparently sought to convince Washington that coordinated efforts by the US and Germany would be a more effective deterrent against any potentially hostile actions Moscow can take, while also saying that Russia “is currently fulfilling all delivery obligations” and cannot be blamed for soaring energy prices.
Berlin also appeared to maintain that Nord Stream 2 did not “soften” its position on Russia and outlined several measures it was ready to take “should Russia attempt to use energy as a weapon.” The list includes steps ranging from “strong public messages” to suspension of bilateral political meetings with Moscow and new economic sanctions, as well as “support” for the “victims of Russia’s use of energy as a weapon.”
The document also informs the US about the process of the pipeline project’s certification, indicating that final approval is to be expected no sooner than between July and September 2022.
It is unclear if the paper has had any influence on Washington. On Saturday, US media reported that President Joe Biden’s administration appears to be opposing a new batch of sanctions against the Russian project, currently going through Congress. If passed, they might hit the companies involved in the process of testing and certifying the endeavour.
Berlin’s own position on the issue might depend on the stance of the new government about to take office there. Earlier this week, Germany’s incoming vice-chancellor and the Green Party co-leader, Robert Habeck, described the pipeline as a means of putting Ukraine under pressure and “increases the dependency of German politics.”