Speed Reads

mixed response

U.S., Germany reach deal to pave way for completion of controversial Russian gas pipeline

The Biden administration officially announced an agreement with Germany on Wednesday that paves the way for the completion of the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which will transport natural gas from Russia to Germany.

The U.S. has opposed the pipeline for some time because it threatens Ukraine's energy security and provides Russia with significant geopolitical leverage. But President Biden is prioritizing Washington's alliance with Berlin. 

In the announcement, the White House said both Germany and the U.S. are still "united in their determination to hold Russia to account" should it step out of line and will continue to support Ukraine's energy security. The agreement is attempting to back up that latter point by, among other things, aiming to "promote and support investments of at least $1 billion" for renewable energy infrastructure in Ukraine. 

But there's already been pushback. Ukraine, in a joint statement with Poland (which also views the pipeline as a threat), suggested the U.S.-German proposals were insufficient and called on the two countries to "adequately address the security crisis in our region." Biden was also criticized by Republican members of Congress, who think he handed Russian Vladimir Putin a gift, as well as Democrats. For example, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) said he's "not happy about" the decision to let Russia finish the pipeline, while Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) called it a "mistake." Read more about Nord Stream 2 at The Week.