Biden admin leaning on Ukraine to keep quiet about opposition to major Russian energy deal: report

Biden admin leaning on Ukraine to keep quiet about opposition to major Russian energy deal: report
AP Photo/Patrick Semansky
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The Biden administration is reportedly leaning on Ukraine to keep quiet about its opposition to an energy deal that the United States is expected to announce with Germany on Wednesday. 

The deal, which will enable Russia to complete the Nord Stream 2 pipeline to Europe, has faced widespread criticism from Republicans, who see Biden’s actions as a capitulation to Russian interests. Sen. Ted Cruz commented, “We always knew Biden was in bed with Putin, now they’re spooning.”

The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday that the Biden administration will reverse the U.S. government’s longstanding opposition to the pipeline’s construction, which has been the subject of energy-sector forecasts in Europe. The completion of the pipeline will effectively provide Russia with energy independence. 

“Germany under the agreement will agree to assist Ukraine in energy-related projects and diplomacy,” the publication reported.

A separate report, released on Tuesday evening, indicated that the Biden administration is pushing Ukraine’s government to remain silent about its “vociferous opposition” to the Russian deal. 

Politico reported:

The U.S. officials have indicated that going public with opposition to the forthcoming agreement could damage the Washington-Kyiv bilateral relationship, those sources said. The officials have also urged the Ukrainians not to discuss the U.S. and Germany’s potential plans with Congress. A senior administration official disputed this reporting, noting that the situation is more nuanced than that, but declined to share further details on U.S. officials’ talks with their Ukrainian counterparts. …

The administration’s position is at odds with much of Congress and with the Ukrainian government and other Eastern European allies, who have long held that U.S. intervention can still block completion of the pipeline, which is nearly completed.

Politico reported that a source close to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that the Eastern European country believes Biden could stop the pipeline if he had any inclination towards standing up to Vladimir Putin and Russian interests.

“It’s unbalanced and unfair that Russia gets a huge reward and Ukraine is flogged over criticism,” said Alina Polyakova, president and CEO of the Center for European Policy Analysis. She suggested that if the deal were going through under former President Trump, the media and U.S. politicians would cause an uproar.

As reported by the Daily Wire, Sen. Ted Cruz slammed Biden over reports that the United States would be making a deal with Germany to allow the completion of the Russian pipeline. 

“If the reports and details of a deal are accurate, this will be a generational geopolitical win for Putin and a catastrophe for the United States and our allies,” Cruz said. “President Biden is defying U.S. law and has utterly surrendered to Putin. Decades from now, Russian dictators will still be reaping billions from Biden’s gift, and Europe will still be subject to Russian energy blackmail.”

“We always knew Biden was in bed with Putin, now they’re spooning,” Cruz said.

The Hudson Institute’s Rebeccah Heinrichs suggested that Biden’s actions undermine his rhetoric against Putin, referring to all his talk about “democracy over autocracy” as a “schtick.” 

“President Joe Biden and German Chancellor Angela Merkel failed to settle their differences over the undersea pipeline when they met last week, but agreed Moscow must not be allowed to use energy as a weapon against its neighbors,” Reuters reported. “In addition to assurances by Germany about its willingness to ‘reverse flow’ gas to Ukraine if Russia ever cuts off supplies to Eastern Europe, the sources said the agreement would include a pledge by both countries to invest in Ukraine’s energy transformation, energy efficiency and energy security.”

A previous report in May from the Center for Responsive Politics, a non-partisan firm that tracks money in U.S. politics, alleged that a lobbyist for the foreign partners of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline provided thousands of dollars to Biden’s campaign through a pro-Biden Super PAC. 

McLarty managing partner Richard Burt, the former U.S. Ambassador to West Germany and a member of several influential Washington think-tanks, reported lobbying for a slate of foreign companies that have partnered on the project on “Russian sanctions issues” and “natural gas as an element of European energy security.” Burt donated $2,000 to Biden’s 2020 campaign and $10,000 to pro-Biden super PAC Unite the Country while he was a registered lobbyist for foreign companies partnering with Nord Stream on the pipeline. Biden’s campaign had not refunded Burt’s money at the time of publication, more than 6 months after the donations were given, despite pledging to reject lobbyist donations.

Because firms working for proponents of the pipeline registered under the Lobbying Disclosure Act instead of the Foreign Agents Registration Act, details of which government officials the lobbyists met with remain hidden from the public.

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