WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Joe Biden said on Thursday that he expressed his concerns to German Chancellor Angela Merkel about Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline during a meeting with her at the White House.
Russia is racing to finish the pipeline that would take gas to Germany bypassing Ukraine and depriving it of valuable transit fees, potentially undermining its struggle with Russian aggression. Biden told reporters that he and Merkel are united in their belief that Russia should not use energy as a weapon against its neighbors.
Merkel told reporters that Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, has different views on the pipeline from the United States. But she said Berlin views Ukraine as a transit country, evidently meaning she believes that natural gas should still flow through Ukraine, even if the pipeline is completed.
Merkel said there are a “number of instruments” that Europe can take, including sanctions, if Russia does not meet commitments to Ukraine on the pipeline.
Russia says the $11 billion pipeline, led by state energy company Gazprom (MCX:) and its Western partners, will be completed later this year.
Biden said that “good friends can disagree” on a project such as Nord Stream 2 and that both leaders have asked their teams to look at practical measures the countries can take on the pipeline if Ukraine’s energy security is weakened.
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