Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement on May 19 after Congress received a mandatory report from the State Department regarding entities involved in sanctionable activity by the builders of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. Citing U.S. national security interests, the Biden administration announced it would waive mandatory sanctions on the company Nord Stream 2 AG and its CEO Matthias Warnig.
I am opposed to the decision by the Biden administration to waive sanctions on NS2 AG and Matthias Warnig. I urge the administration to rip off the band-aid, lift these waivers and move forward with the congressionally mandated sanctions. The administration has said that the pipeline is a bad idea and that it is a Russian malign influence project. I share that sentiment, but fail to see how today’s decision will advance U.S. efforts to counter Russian aggression in Europe.
If the administration maintains these waivers, I have several questions. First, what does the administration now expect from Germany after having made this significant concession to exercise the waiver? Will Berlin strengthen its support for Ukraine in the Normandy Format? Will it provide additional assistance to Kyiv in its struggle against Russian aggression? Also, what will the administration do to bolster our relationship with Ukraine?
This decision has created uncertainty in many corners of Europe and I expect to hear very soon from the administration on its plans moving forward. I believe President Biden should do everything possible to accomplish what the Trump administration failed to do for four years: stop the completion of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline for good.