The Biden administration waived sanctions on the company behind Russia’s Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline to Germany and its chief executive, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday, a move decried by critics of the project in Congress.
A State Department report sent to Congress concluded that Nord Stream 2 AG and its CEO, Matthias Warnig, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, engaged in sanctionable activity. But Blinken immediately waived those sanctions, saying that it was in the U.S. national interest.
The decision came as the Biden administration seeks to rebuild ties with Germany, after relations deteriorated under Republican former President Donald Trump. The waivers have no specific end date, but can be rescinded by the secretary of state.
The State Department imposed sanctions on four Russian ships, including the Akademik Cherskiy, which began pipe-laying for the project in Danish waters in April. It also imposed the measures on five other Russian entities, including the Russian Marine Rescue Service.