Germany stopped the approval process for Nord Stream 2, a pipeline that would transport natural gas directly from Russia to Europe, the nation’s leader said Tuesday.
“In light of the most recent developments we must reassess the situation in particular regarding Nord Stream 2,” German Chancellor Olaf Scholz told reporters, Reuters reported.
“The appropriate departments of the economy ministry will make a new assessment of the security of our supply in light of what has changed in the last few days,” he continued.
The pipeline, which is owned and operated by the Russian state-run firm Gazprom, would travel beneath the Baltic Sea from Russia to Germany. Most pipelines serving Europe from Russia travel through neighboring countries like Poland or Ukraine.
Nord Stream 2 was completed in September 2021, but still hasn’t received approval from the German government to begin operations. The pipeline has faced tough scrutiny from both the U.S. and European Union.
But in May 2021, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the U.S. would waive sanctions placed on the pipeline by former President Donald Trump. President Joe Biden then gave a stamp of approval to the $11 billion project in July after a meeting with former German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Senate Democrats defeated a proposal from Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz in January to reimpose the sanctions removed by the Biden administration. Although several Democrats voted with Republicans, the vote failed to reach the required 60-vote threshold.
“For two years, this body has had bipartisan consensus and unanimity on standing up to Russia on stopping Nord Stream 2,” Cruz said on the Senate floor prior to the vote. “It is only with a Democrat in the White House that suddenly scores of Democrats have decided partisan loyalty is more important than standing up to Russia.”
On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered troops into two separatist regions of Ukraine after weeks of escalating tensions at the nation’s borders. Biden had promised to completely end Nord Stream 2 if Russia invaded Ukraine during a news conference earlier this month.
“(Biden) made clear that if Russia invaded Ukraine, we would act with Germany to ensure Nord Stream 2 does not move forward,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki tweeted Tuesday. “We have been in close consultations with Germany overnight and welcome their announcement. We will be following up with our own measures today.”
Russia is responsible for about 46% of European gas imports, European Union data showed.
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