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US, Germany pipeline deal warns Russia,seeks Ukraine transit

Transit deal is due to expire at the end of 2024

21 July, 20:31
(ANSA-AFP) - WASHINGTON, JUL 21 - The United States said Wednesday it had reached an agreement with Germany on the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline that would threaten Russia with sanctions and seek to extend the transit of gas through Ukraine. President Joe Biden's Republican rivals swiftly denounced the agreement as emboldening President Vladimir Putin but the administration argued that it was trying to secure a favorable outcome from a pipeline that is nearly complete. "This is a bad situation and a bad pipeline but we need to help protect Ukraine and I feel that we have made some significant steps in that direction," Victoria Nuland, the under secretary of state for political affairs, said as she unveiled details before a Senate haring. Biden, who welcomed Chancellor Angela Merkel last week, has waived most sanctions on Nord Stream required by Congress, arguing that it was too late to stop it and it was better to work with Germany. The pipeline through the Baltic Sea has been vigorously opposed by Ukraine, which has been battling pro-Moscow separatists since 2014 and sees the transit of Russian gas through its territory as vital leverage.

"Germany has committed in this agreement with us that should Russia attempt to use energy as a weapon or commit further aggressive acts against Ukraine, Germany will take actions at the national level and press for effective measures at the European level including sanctions to limit Russian export capabilities to Europe in the energy sector," Nuland said.

Nuland said that Germany had also agreed to work alongside the United States to press Russia to extend by 10 years a transit agreement through Ukraine that is due to expire at the end of 2024. (ANSA-AFP).

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