Russia’s primary opponents in Europe have blasted President Joe Biden for his apparent weakness against Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose ambitions appear to have gone unchallenged ever since Biden took office.
According to Axios, Russia’s adversaries in central and eastern Europe have expressed concerns that Biden may be unwilling to prevent Putin from constructing the Russia-Germany gas pipeline, Nord Stream 2, which would enable Russia to receive cheap transport of petroleum and further enable its ambitions in Europe.
“The completion of Nord Stream 2 would be a huge geopolitical win for Putin and give him substantial new leverage in Europe,” reported Axios.
The Axios report notes that the completion of the pipeline would enable Russia to isolate Ukraine, which has been at odds with the former Soviet Union nation. Under Putin, Ukraine has been cut off from its natural gas supply. Russia’s natural gas currently goes through Ukraine to get to Europe, but the completion of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline would enable Russia to pump gas directly to Germany.
“The Ukrainians are a bit disappointed that President Biden did not commit during the Munich [Security] Conference to use every tool in his power to stop Nord Stream 2,” a source close to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told Axios. “But it is not too late for the U.S. to take decisive action, and the Ukrainians are hopeful the Biden administration will do so.”
American allies in Europe are calling on Biden to prevent the pipeline from being completed, including sanctioning “the entire construction fleet” and German companies working with Russia.
According to Axios, former President Trump leveled trade threats at German Chancellor Angela Merkel to stop the construction of Nord Stream 2, which was halted during the Trump presidency.
Russia then resumed construction of the pipeline only two weeks into the Biden administration, following Biden’s cancellation of the North American Keystone XL pipeline, which would have eventually enabled the U.S. to have a direct route to the Arctic. Russia is currently eyeing the Arctic as a potential source of oil in the coming years.
“For the second time in the first thirty days of his presidency, President Biden has bent a knee to Russia,” said Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy in a statement to the Daily Wire. “Earlier this month his administration announced the five-year extension of the New START treaty – exactly what Putin had been asking the United States for months. The President made no attempt to update this Cold War-era agreement, and failed to bring China to the negotiating table, even as the CCP continues to grow their own nuclear capabilities. Now, President Biden has once again caved to Russia’s demands by stepping aside and allowing the construction of a corrupt pipeline to continue.”
“The Biden Administration announced on Friday that it would not implement any new sanctions on entities involved in the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, as required by law that was supported by Republicans and Democrats alike in Congress,” McCarthy added.
“This gives Russia a green light to build a pipeline that endangers the ability of Ukraine to stand up to Russian bullying and gives one of our adversaries more control of the natural gas flow in the region.”
"We don’t need to hypothesize what Russia would do with this power,” McCarthy said. “At least twice in the past two decades, without justification, Russia completely cut off natural gas deliveries to Ukraine. We must be a check on Russia’s oppressive tactics, not give it even more ability to blackmail Europe through energy resources."