President Joe Biden promised Monday that “there will be no longer a Nord Stream 2” if Russia invades Ukraine, though he avoided explaining how he plans to ensure it doesn’t move forward.
The $11 billion Russia-to-Germany gas pipeline has become a focus in recent weeks amid ongoing tensions between Russia and Ukraine. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz met with Biden at the White House on Monday, and the American president was expected to press Scholz on coming up with a sanctions package should the invasion move ahead, senior administration officials explained in a call previewing the meeting.
While Biden, speaking to reporters at a joint press conference after the meeting, told reporters emphatically that there will “no longer [be] a Nord Stream 2” if Russia invades Ukraine, Scholz wouldn’t address what would happen to the pipeline. The German chancellor only reiterated that allies would be united in their action.
“I promise you, we will be able to do it,” Biden said when pressed about how he would ensure the pipeline doesn’t move forward.
Biden’s comments echo those of State Department spokesperson Ned Price, who said in January that the pipeline “will not move forward” in the event of a Russian invasion. Price highlighted the “leverage” the U.S. has with the pipeline because “gas is not currently flowing through” it – a comment the White House has reiterated as it deals with the tensions.
It’s unclear exactly how much influence the U.S. has over Nord Stream 2, and Biden’s comments on Monday offered little in way of clarifying. The president did note that an invasion means “tanks or troops crossing.” (RELATED: ‘That’s Not On The Table,’ Biden Says On Sending US Troops To Ukraine)
Nord Stream 2 would connect Russia and Germany via the Baltic Sea, and gas exports to Germany would double according to BBC News. Price has also declined to say exactly how the U.S. plans to stop the pipeline from becoming operational.
Biden’s vow to stop Nord Stream 2 if Russia invades and Scholz’s unwillingness to explicitly say whether it will become operational under these conditions indicates that although the two world leaders touted unity, it remains unclear whether the meeting produced significant agreements.