WASHINGTON: US President Joe Biden on Wednesday directed his administration to impose sanctions on Nord Stream 2 AG pipeline constructor, its operator and on its corporate officers after Germany’s announcement to halt the pipeline.
In a statement by White House, Biden said, “Yesterday, after further close consultations between our two governments, Germany announced that it would halt certification of the pipeline. Today, I have directed my administration to impose sanctions on Nord Stream 2 AG and its corporate officers.”
This comes at a time when Russian President Vladimir Putin recognized the independence of two Ukraine breakaway regions which is deemed to be a breach of international law by the west.
“These steps are another piece of our initial tranche of sanctions in response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine. As I have made clear, we will not hesitate to take further steps if Russia continues to escalate,” the statement added.
At the outset of the White House statement Biden talked about Russia’s further ‘invasion’ of Ukraine and said, “Since Russia began deploying troops to the Ukrainian border, the United States has worked closely with our Allies and partners to deliver a strong, unified response. As I said when I met with Chancellor Scholz earlier this month, Germany has been a leader in that effort, and we have closely coordinated our efforts to stop the Nord Stream 2 pipeline if Russia further invaded Ukraine.”
“Through his actions, President Putin has provided the world with an overwhelming incentive to move away from Russian gas and to other forms of energy. I want to thank Chancellor Scholz for his close partnership and continued dedication to holding Russia accountable for its actions,” the statement read.
Following Putin’s announcement of recognizing the independence of Ukraine breakaway regions, Biden on Monday signed an Executive Order that will prohibit all new investment, trade, and financing by U.S. persons to, from, or in the “so-called Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics”.
The US strongly condemned Putin’s decision to recognize the “so-called Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics” as “independent.”
US Ambassador to UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield supported Ukraine’s call for an Urgent Meeting of the UN Security Council. She criticized Russia’s announcement and said that it is “nothing more than theatre, apparently designed to create a pretext for a further invasion of Ukraine.”
Notably, Putin has also ordered the sending of the Russian Armed Forces to Ukraine’s breakaway regions after recognizing their independence in his Monday address to the nation.
Notably, in March 2014, Russia invaded and then annexed the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea. In April pro-Russian separatists in the Donbas region declared independence. The war continued in the eastern Ukrainian region and then spread westwards.
Roughly 13,000 Ukrainian soldiers and civilians eventually died in the conflict. In April 2019, Volodymyr Zelensky, a former comedian, was elected by a large majority as President of Ukraine on a promise to restore Donbas to the country. The crisis deepened in January 2021, when Zelensky appealed the US President Biden to let Ukraine enter NATO. In the spring of 2021, Russia started massing troops near Ukraine’s borders in what it said were training exercises.
Russia stated that its troop deployment is in response to NATO’s steady eastward expansion. It argued that its moves are aimed at protecting its own security considerations. (ANI)