The chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee issued a statement on Monday, along with counterparts from several European parliaments, opposing the recent agreement between Washington and Germany to allow completion of the Nord Stream 2 undersea gas pipeline.
“We consider Nord Stream 2 a geopolitical project geared towards expanding Russia’s influence on Europe by dominating the energy market,” Democratic Senator Bob Menendez said in the joint statement with counterparts from Estonia, Czech Republic, Ireland, Latvia, Poland, Ukraine, Britain and Lithuania.
President Joe Biden and German Chancellor Angela Merkel last month reached an agreement that allows the pipeline that will take Russian gas to Germany to proceed.
Ukraine has long opposed the nearly completed $11 billion project because it will give Moscow the theoretical option to stop routing gas via Ukraine, which would deprive Kyiv of billions of dollars in lucrative transit fees and, it says, imperil its security.
Launched in 2015, the Nord Stream 2 pipeline connects Russia and Germany directly via the Baltic Sea, following a similar route to Nord Stream 1 completed in 2011. Construction has taken several years, with delays due to protracted legal battles and, since 2019, US sanctions. Nevertheless, pipe-laying continues and is on track for completion in the next few months.
Earlier this year, the European Parliament called on the EU to immediately stop the completion of the controversial pipeline. MEPs also underline that the EU should no longer be a welcoming place for Russian wealth of unclear origin.