U.S. to waive sanctions on firm behind Russia’s Nord Stream 2

Curbs on its CEO Warnig, a Putin ally, are also set to be lifted

Published - May 19, 2021 10:09 pm IST - Washington

The U.S. government will waive sanctions on the company behind Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline to Europe and its Chief Executive, a Washington source familiar with the plans and Germany’s Foreign Minister said on Wednesday.

A U.S. State Department report to be delivered to Congress as early as Wednesday concludes that Nord Stream 2 AG and CEO Matthias Warnig, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, engaged in sanctionable activity but that it was in the U.S. national interest to waive the sanctions, the source said.

‘Constructive step’

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said the administration had waived the sanctions on those two parties but also imposed sanctions on Russian entities and ships linked to Nord Stream 2. “We see this as a constructive step, which we are happy to further discuss with our partners in Washington,” Mr. Maas said.

The administration under Democratic President Joe Biden still opposed the Nord Stream 2 pipeline but felt it was important to send a signal about its commitment to ties with Germany, which were badly damaged under former President Donald Trump, the source said.

Russia’s state energy company Gazprom and its western partners are racing to finish the line to take Russian gas to Europe via Germany, under the Baltic Sea. The project, now about 95% complete, would bypass Ukraine, depriving it of lucrative transit fees and potentially undermining its struggle against Russian aggression.

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