Russia said on Wednesday that it sees a possible waiver of US sanctions against the company overseeing the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline as a step toward improving ties between Moscow and Washington.
If a report in US media about the waiver is true, then “a touch of normalcy in US policy is emerging,” Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said, according to the Interfax agency.
Axios, citing unnamed sources, on Tuesday reported that the Biden administration will soon waive sanctions on the entity in charge of the nearly completed undersea project, Nord Stream 2 AG, of which Russia’s Gazprom is the majority shareholder.
Driving the decision is the recognition that Nord Stream 2, which will deliver Russian gas into the European Union via a terminal in Germany, is 95 per cent finished, and the only way to stop the project would be to take action against Germany, one of Washington’s closest allies, according to Axios.
The pipeline has for years come under fierce criticism from Washington and some Eastern European countries, which believe it will make Europe more dependent on Russian energy supplies.
The German government has refused to intervene, arguing that it is a commercial project. Pipeline supporters in Europe say the Americans are only looking for better sales opportunities for their own liquefied natural gas.
According to Axios, while the company in charge of the pipeline won’t be sanctioned, other entities involved will still face US punitive measures.