President Biden on Thursday reiterated his concerns over the completion of the $11 billion Nord Stream 2 pipeline, an undersea gas pipeline that would bypass traditional transit routes and link Russian oil supplies directly to Germany and other Western European markets.
The president’s comments came during a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has staunchly defended the project in the face of opposition from both the Trump and Biden administrations.
But Mr. Biden repeated his concerns that Moscow will use the pipeline to gain leverage over its neighbors, and undercut U.S. ally Ukraine as a key transit route for energy to the West.
“While I reiterated my concerns about Nord Stream to Chancellor Merkel, we are absolutely united in our conviction that Russia must not be allowed to use energy as a weapon to coerce or threaten its neighbors,” he said at the press conference.
Ms. Merkel said they are working on a treaty with Russia to stop the country from working in bad faith.
“We have a number of instruments at our disposal…., for example, sanctions,” she said. “At the point in the time in which I hope we never have to make those decisions, you will see what we do.”
In May, the United States decided against key sanctions on the Swiss-based company running the project and its German chief executive, essentially giving up efforts to halt the project. Mr. Biden argued Thursday the project was nearly completed when he came into office in January..
Mr. Biden acknowledged the different points of view between the U.S. and Germany, adding “good friends can disagree.”