The United States has said it was close to an agreement with Germany to resolve a long-standing dispute over the North Stream 2 pipeline, including a commitment to punish Moscow if it were to use energy as a weapon against it. to his neighbors.
The deal is likely to come after a bilateral meeting last week at the White House between US President Joe Biden and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
“The Germans have presented useful proposals, and we have been able to make progress on the steps to achieve that common goal, also that common goal is to ensure that Russia can not arm energy flows,” said Ned Price, the State department spokesman said during a briefing Tuesday.
“We don’t have final details to announce, but I hope we will be able, in a position, to say sooner,” he added.
The Nord Stream pipeline connecting Russia with Germany has long been a bad point between Washington and Berlin. U.S. officials believe Vladimir Putin’s geopolitical plan to keep Europe dependent on Russian energy while endangering the security of Central and Eastern European countries such as Poland and Ukraine.
According to the future agreement between the Biden administration and the German government, which was first reported by Reuters, Berlin is committed to threatening to impose sanctions on Russia if Moscow’s energy policy endangers American allies. in the region. U.S. officials have consulted with Warsaw and Kiev while negotiating the pact with Germany.
Ukraine remains “firmly opposed” to the pipeline, according to a person close to Volodymyr Zelensky, president of Ukraine. The Biden administration “has made it very clear that any strong public opposition to its agreement with Germany would have a very detrimental effect on the US-Ukraine relationship,” the person said.
An eventual agreement with Germany comes when Biden tries to enrich transatlantic relations after Donald Trump’s tumultuous four-year tenure, which has been marked by tensions with several European capitals.
Biden’s move earlier this year to impose new sanctions on Russians connected to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline – while renouncing punitive measures against European pipeline operators – has opened the door to negotiations that have been underway. completed.
Biden said he did not even agree with Merkel on the merits of the pipeline, but her administration has to accept that it was almost complete by the time of her inauguration in January.
“It made more sense to work with the chancellor to find out how he would proceed depending on whether or not Russia has tried, essentially, to blackmail Ukraine in some way,” Biden said last week.
More information from Roman Olearchyk