US President Joe Biden warned on Monday that if Russia invades Ukraine “there will be no Nord Stream 2”. He has done it within the framework of the Bilateral Energy Council in Washington, during a joint press conference with the new German Chancellor, Olaf Scholzwho has avoided clarifying whether he is willing to suspend the permits for that gas pipeline.
“If Russia invades, and that means tanks and troops crossing the Ukraine border, there will no longer be a Nord Stream 2, we will put an end to it,” Trump said at the White House. Nevertheless, has not specified how this underwater infrastructure could be cut linking Russia directly with Germany if Berlin were to object.
“We will take the same steps and they will be very hard for Russia“
For his part, Scholz, although he has not confirmed this possibility, has said that the allies they are “absolutely united” and that they will not take “different steps”. “We will take the same steps and they will be very, very hard on Russia, and they will understand that,” she concluded.
The silence of Germany
Scholz has resisted threatening Moscow with a definitive cancellation of the permits for the gas pipeline, controlled by the Russian giant Gazprom, and he did not want to do it in the White House either, despite the criticism that this has earned him in the United States. “Part of this process is the fact that we don’t publicly spell out everything (what we could do),” stressed the foreign minister, who plans to visit Moscow next week.
The US has harshly criticized the pipeline, considering that it could harm Ukraine by allowing Russia to scrap the gas transit route through Ukrainian territory. Scholz’s lack of clarity has rankled many in Washington.to the point that the German ambassador to the city, Emily Haber, warned Berlin last week that many in the United States see Germany as an “unreliable partner”, according to New York Times.
The question of Nord Stream 2 has been weighing on relations between Washington and Berlin for years, but it has become especially acute with the Ukraine crisis. The United States has long argued that infrastructure gives Moscow too much strategic leverage over energy. However, former Chancellor Angela Merkel convinced Biden last year to suspend US sanctions on the project.
A “very productive” meeting
Biden has highlighted that the meeting with Scholz has been “very productive”. “Germany, together with the United States and our allies and partners we are working closely to achieve a diplomatic resolutionaa this situation and diplomacy is the best way forward for all parties,” he argued.
The US president has indicated that he has discussed with Scholz the preparation of “a powerful sanctions package that clearly demonstrates international resolve and imposes swift and severe consequences if Russia violates Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
“All of NATO is ready“
“We have made it very clear that we are willing to continue relevant and good faith talks with Russia … but if Russia chooses to further invade Ukraine, we are jointly prepared. All of NATO is ready“, has warned.
Along the same lines, Scholz has pointed out that Russia “will pay a high price”: “We are in a very complicated situation. If there is a military threat to Ukraine, we cannot remain silent. There are troops on the Ukrainian border and this poses a serious threat to European security and that is why it is important to act together and do what we be necessary”.
Alternatives to Russian gas
Biden has also recalled that the United States is in contact with large world producers of natural gas, with the aim of help the European Union (EU) find alternatives to Russian supply from that power source. “We believe that we can substitute a significant part (of the gas that the EU now obtains from Russia),” she stressed.
Germany currently imports from Russia between 45 and 65% of the gas it consumes, but Scholz has insisted that the European country also receives this resource from Norway and the Netherlands and that, in any case, it is trying to bet more and more on renewable energies.
On the other hand, the president of The US has urged US citizens in Ukraine to leave the country against a possible Russian invasion. “I think it would be smart to leave the country,” she has stated, although he has clarified that he is not referring to diplomatic personnel.
“I wouldn’t want them to be caught in the crossfire if they invade, and there’s no need. If I were them I would, I’d walk away,” he said. In any case, she has explained that he does not know if there is any intention to authorize an invasion before the end of the winter, although he does know that he “is in a position” to do so.