The United States is putting pressure on Germany to block Russia’s North Stream 2 natural gas pipeline as part of a package of sanctions that will be implemented when Vladimir Putin invades Ukraine.
While the intelligence community is worried that Putin is preparing to take military action, the United States is trying to avoid further conflicts in the region. Therefore, asking Berlin and Brussels to prevent the pipeline from being put into operation is part of the sanctions proposed by the United States.
On Tuesday, US President Joe Biden spoke with Putin on the phone for two hours, warning him that if the Russian leader sends troops to Ukraine, he will take “strong economic and other measures.”
Threat to Beixi 2, Two officials familiar with the plan told reporters that the plan has been completed but has not yet pumped gas. It will be included with a package of sanctions proposed by the United States, including financial measures such as preventing the exchange of rubles into US dollars, and further targeting Russian oligarchs. Financial Times.
Biden’s national security adviser Jack Sullivan said, “If Vladimir Putin wants to see natural gas pass through that pipeline, he may not want to risk invading Ukraine.”
“In the context of the potential invasion, we had in-depth discussions with the outgoing and incoming German governments on the Beixi-2 issue,” Sullivan added in a press conference after Biden’s phone call with Putin.
A Western diplomat stated that Washington and Berlin had “some very intense dialogues” on the pipeline, adding: “Eventually there may be a consensus that if Ukraine is severely invaded, the Beixi 2 project will become a standstill. Can’t hold back.”
An American official said New German government It is expected to be “more helpful” for Washington’s pressure on Russia, as the Biden administration tries to win European support for a strong package designed to make Putin wary of the cost of invading Ukraine.
It is expected that after the new government led by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz takes office, US officials will go to Germany immediately.
“Nord Stream 2 will always be an elephant in the room,” the American official said. “Anything related to Russia, Germany and Ukraine is particularly important.”
According to reports, Putin and Biden told their team in a conference call on Tuesday to “follow up.” White House reading Their conversation.
Also on Tuesday, senior US State Department official Victoria Nuland stated that if Putin invades Ukraine, she believes Germany is ready to take major actions against Russia.
“I believe they are [ready] Today is the first day of the establishment of the new German government,” she said when asked about Nord Stream 2 at the Senate hearing. “We have started in-depth consultations with them. ”
The Kremlin stated that the call between Putin and Biden was “frank” and “pragmatic.” Putin told Biden that the Ukrainian crisis was caused by Ukraine’s “destructive behavior” and what he described as NATO’s “dangerous attempt to take over Ukrainian territory and develop its military potential on our borders”.
The Kremlin added that the Russian president reiterated his call that NATO will not expand eastward or deploy weapon systems in countries bordering Russia, which may attack it in the past.
The U.S. spent weeks trying to persuade European partners Putin may be at risk of invading Ukraine early next year as it tries to gain support from allies to take a positive response to prevent him from taking such actions.
It is not clear what type of military escalation will be classified as an invasion and trigger sanctions.
In 2014, Putin denied that the unbadged soldiers who seized the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine were Russian special forces, and continued to insist that Moscow was not involved in the separatist war in the east of the country—although there is a lot of evidence to the contrary.
The European Union vowed earlier on Tuesday to expand its punitive measures against Russia to prevent “further aggression.”
European Commission President Ursula von der Lein told the EU ambassador that the EU will “respond appropriately to any further aggression” and adopt “additional restrictive measures” in addition to economic sanctions in the event of an invasion.
Biden presided over a meeting with his European partners before calling Putin on Monday so that he could hold talks with his Russian counterparts and claimed that Western allies are unified with the support of the US position.
Western diplomats said that the EU sanctions under discussion will focus on ways to target Russia’s economic and financial system.
Western officials who heard a briefing on Washington’s practices said that restrictions on the exchange of rubles into Western currencies would make it “more difficult” to sell Russian oil exports.
The United States believes that Putin is gathering necessary troops, equipment and false propaganda activities Military upgrade next yearThe new invasion will reignite a slow-burning conflict in Donbass, the eastern part of Ukraine on the Russian border, that has claimed the lives of more than 14,000 people.
A senior EU official said that intelligence on Russia’s military preparations shared by the United States with European countries in recent weeks “created a sense of urgency.”
After the pro-Western uprising in Kiev, Russia annexed the Crimea Peninsula. Since then, the Kremlin has supported the separatist forces in the Donbass region, but has denied direct involvement in the conflict.