Washington (US), May 20: The Biden administration plans to waive sanctions against a company and its head overseeing the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline from Russia to Germany, U.S. media reported on Wednesday.
The State Department will report to Congress on Wednesday that "Nord Stream 2 AG and its chief executive Matthias Warnig are engaged in sanctionable activity under U.S. law but that the Biden administration decided to waive the sanctions for national security reasons," Bloomberg said in a piece.
Axios first reported the Biden administration's plan to waive the sanctions on Tuesday.
According to media reports, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on Wednesday confirmed and welcomed the U.S. move, calling it "a constructive step."
White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters the same day that the Biden administration remained opposed to the pipeline project and declined to comment on reports regarding the decision to waive sanctions.
"The Biden administration has been clear that Nord Stream 2 pipeline is a bad deal; it's a Russian geopolitical project that threatens European energy security, and that of the Ukraine and Eastern Flank NATO allies and partners," she said.
The move came as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will meet with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov on the sidelines of the Arctic Council in Iceland later Wednesday, the first high-level in-person talks between Washington and Moscow since President Joe Biden took office.
The 1,230-km Nord Stream 2 pipeline is designed to pump natural gas from Russia to Germany through the Baltic Sea and could deliver 55 billion cubic meters of gas annually. Both Germany and Russia point out that the project is purely an economic one.
The pipeline is currently around 95 percent complete, and Germany has been steadfast on the completion of the project despite opposition from the United States.