Biden Opens Door For Russia To Invade Ukraine With Nord Stream 2
According to one expert, President Joe Biden’s soft policy on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, has opened the door to a Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Those against the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, say that it would make Russia less dependant on the Ukrainian gas pipeline network, potentially removing a key deterrent to invasion. Nord Stream 2 would take away both a key revenue source from Ukraine and a powerful tool it has to defend itself against Russian aggression.
In May, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the U.S. would waive sanctions placed on the pipeline by former President Donald Trump. Biden approved the $11 billion project on July 21 after a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
“Biden made a preemptive concession at the beginning of his administration without going to the table and talking with Putin,” former Under Secretary of Defense Robert Wilkie said.
Wilkie added that when the natural gas starts to flow from Russia to Europe via Nord Stream, the European nations who rely on it for their energy needs will be less apt to protect Ukraine from potential Russian aggression.
“The Ukrainians have figured correctly that the Europeans are going to be neutered, they’re not going to want to turn off that flow for economic reasons,” he continued. “And that leaves the United States, and perhaps the Eastern European friends of America, particularly Poland, as their only buttress against Russian adventurism.”
Though the project was completed in September, it continues to wait for final regulatory approval from Germany. The pipeline will be capable of transporting 55 billion cubic meters of gas per year from Russia to Germany beneath the Baltic Sea once online.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in August that his government views the project as a “dangerous geopolitical weapon of the Kremlin.”
Biden said in July that maintaining a good relationship with Germany was a priority when his decision to approve the pipeline.
“By the time I became President, it was 90 percent completed. And imposing sanctions did not seem to make any sense,” Biden told reporters during a joint press conference with Merkel after they agreed to the pact. “It made more sense to work with the Chancellor on finding out how she’d proceed based on whether or not Russia tried to, essentially, blackmail Ukraine in some way.”
However, Republican lawmakers have said the pipeline would potentially give Russian President Vladimir Putin the option to use gas exports to Europe as a geopolitical weapon. Russia suddenly slowed gas supply into Europe in August and administration officials expressed concerns in October that the country was using it as a weapon.
“Putin is showing every sign that he intends to escalate his military aggression against Ukraine,” a spokesperson for Sen. Ted Cruz said. “Biden’s surrender on Nord Stream 2 emboldened Putin to bypass using Ukraine for gas transit and increased Ukraine’s vulnerability.”
“The only acceptable course for the United States is to impose sanctions on Nord Stream 2 immediately and prevent it from coming online,” the spokesperson added.
Citing concerns over the pipeline, Cruz has placed multiple Biden nominees for various positions on hold until the White House “does more on Nord Stream 2.” He has in fact held up dozens of nominations, allegedly hobbling the Treasury Department and State Department.
Cruz has threatened to block the annual National Defense Authorization Act over the matter, demanding a vote on his amendment which would reintroduce sanctions on the pipeline.
Meanwhile, the Biden administration and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization have warned Russia against aggressive military actions along the Ukraine border. Russia countered on Wednesday, sending word to the U.S. embassy in Moscow that there would be “dangerous consequences” of Western actions along the border.
A top Ukrainian defense official said a Russian invasion would be disastrous for both nations and lead to a “bloody massacre.”