Biden Reinstates Economic Sanctions Amid Russian Attacks

President Joe Biden announced Wednesday that he will reimpose economic sanctions on the operator of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.

“I have directed my administration to impose sanctions on Nord Stream 2 AG and its corporate officers,” Biden said in a statement. “These steps are another piece of our initial tranche of sanctions in response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine. As I have made clear, we will not hesitate to take further steps if Russia continues to escalate.”

The president added that Russia’s aggression in Ukraine has given the world an “overwhelming incentive to move away from Russian gas.” The sanctions, which target Nord Stream 2 AG, are the latest in a series of actions taken by the Biden administration in response to Russia’s actions.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz ordered his economic ministry to suspend the certification of Nord Stream 2, which was completed in September, in response to Russia’s invasion of separatist-controlled territories in Ukraine on Monday.

The Biden administration signaled support for Germany’s action shortly after Scholz’s announcement.

When asked about additional measures Biden could take against the pipeline, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the administration had already acted on that front.

“Well, I would first say that, you know, the president has never been a supporter of Nord Stream 2,” Psaki told reporters Tuesday evening. “We’ve always criticized it as a — as a project that we didn’t support. We took a range of steps and sanctions — including sanctions, to make that very clear.”

However, Secretary of State Antony Blinken waived the sanctions placed on the direct Russia-to-Germany pipeline by former President Donald Trump in May. Biden approved the $11 billion project in July after a meeting with former German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The White House also urged Democrats to stop a bill sponsored by Republican Sen. Ted Cruz that would have reimposed the sanctions but it failed to garner the required 60 votes needed to pass.

As recently as Wednesday, White House officials suggested that additional aggressive measures against Russia were not necessary.

“Sometimes I wonder if there’s almost a bloodlust out there for sanctions as an end to themselves,” White House Deputy National Security Advisor for international economics Daleep Singh said Wednesday. “But let me just be really clear. We did hit hard yesterday.”

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