President Joe Biden will host German Chancellor Olaf Scholz at the White House to discuss Russia’s ongoing aggression toward Ukraine on Feb. 7, the White House announced Thursday.
The visit will be Scholz’s first meeting with a U.S. president since being elected to replace former Chancellor Angela Merkel in September. Germany has played a key role in the Russia-Ukraine conflict in its push for the U.S. and other allies to approve the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which pumps gas directly from Russia to Germany and serves to ostracize Ukraine from the European energy economy.
“The leaders will discuss their shared commitment to both ongoing diplomacy and joint efforts to deter further Russian aggression against Ukraine,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a Thursday statement.
“They will also discuss the importance of continued close cooperation on a range of common challenges, including ending the COVID-19 pandemic, addressing the threat of climate change, and promoting economic prosperity and international security based on our shared democratic values,” she continued.
The meeting comes as NATO allies ramp up threats of sanctions against Russia in an effort to deter Russian President Vladimir Putin from moving forward with an invasion of Ukraine. Some critics have argued that Germany’s willingness to tie itself to Russian energy supplies has compromised its alliance with the U.S. and other NATO countries. (RELATED: ‘Terrible Mistake’: Tom Cotton Blasts Biden Admin Over Nord Stream 2)
German leadership vowed to pursue harsh consequences for Russia should Putin ever its supply of energy as a weapon against Eastern European countries like Ukraine. However, Russian officials have already deployed threats of cutting off oil supply in an effort to avert sanctions.
Western countries have threatened to cut off Russia from SWIFT, the global security network that connects thousands of the world’s top financial institutions, should Russia invade Ukraine. The Russian Federation Council responded Tuesday that they would cut off oil supply to Europe if NATO countries made that move.
BREAKING: Russia’s Federation Council warns Europe will not receive gas if Russia is suspended from SWIFT
— Samuel Ramani (@SamRamani2) January 25, 2022
“‘Speak loudly and carry a small stick’ is a weak game plan,” Republican Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse told the Daily Caller in December. “Biden has given Putin the upper hand at almost every turn: letting Russia dictate reciprocal diplomatic representation, waiving sanctions on NordStream 2, and turning the page from Paul Whelan and Alexei Navalny’s unjust imprisonment.”