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Biden Presses Reluctant German Chancellor On Halting Nord Stream 2, Imposing Russia Sanctions

Biden Presses Reluctant German Chancellor On Halting Nord Stream 2, Imposing Russia Sanctions

Macron was in Moscow in talks with Putin, and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz was in Washington meeting with Biden on Monday. Despite Germany lately coming under heavy criticism from the more hawkish corners of the NATO alliance for its less than muscular response to the Ukraine crisis, Biden told reporters while welcoming Scholz that they are “in lockstep” on “confronting Russian aggression” at Ukraine’s border.

Going into the meeting, admin officials said the two leaders would spend time talking about a “robust sanctions package” aimed at Moscow in the event of a military offensive. However, Scholz has not indicated willingness to go along with any level of punitive economic measures, given also Germany’s close trade and energy ties with Russia, not the least of which still looms large in the background is Nord Stream 2.

On this matter, the White House indicated Biden is pressing the German Chancellor on putting in place plans to halt cooperation with Russia on Nord Stream 2 if Ukraine is invaded. But given the pipeline is now complete, and ready to start pumping gas while merely awaiting final German regulatory approval, it’s hard to see how amenable Berlin will in the end be to this option.

CNN described, “Looming over the meeting, however, is the question of Scholz’s resolve to confront Putin. Among the United States’ major European allies, Germany has appeared the most reluctant to commit to lethal aid, sending thousands of helmets instead of weapons and refusing to allow another NATO ally, Estonia, to send German-made howitzers to Ukraine.”

Germany remains among leading European countries which has refused to bolster its forces along NATO’s ‘eastern flank’ – and has gone so far as to ban its weapons from being shipped Ukrainian forces.

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