Russian Vessel Enters German Waters For Last Leg Of Nord Stream 2 Pipelaying
Late last week the Biden administration slapped yet more sanctions on Russian entities, including 13 vessels and their owners, which are in the final stretch of laying the Russia to German natural gas pipeline Nord Stream 2 (said to be well over 90% complete). Just days prior the administration sent contradictory signals when it removed sanctions against the German overseer of the project Nord Stream 2 AG and CEO Matthias Warnig, in an attempt to mend relations with Berlin.
As expected, the conflicting actions has thwarted neither side of the project, as on Monday for the first time the Russian vessel Fortuna began laying pipes in German waters. While the Fortuna itself is under US sanctions, initially put in place under the Trump White House, Germany’s Waterway and Shipping Authority proudly confirmed that it’s begun work on this final section.
“All works are performed in accordance with the available permits,” Nord Stream 2 said a statement, according to Reuters. “Fortuna will be working in German waters from May 22 to June 30, having earlier laid pipes in Denmark.”
On the Russian side state energy giant Gazprom has overseen the $11 billion dollar project, and months ago warned that should the US sanctions noose tighten further, the pipeline could see significant delays.
Germany has along with Russia fought back against Washington efforts to see the construction halted, long rejecting US punitive measures as interference in its domestic affairs, but with last Wednesday’s removal of sanctions for the German overseer of the project – this served to drastically ease tensions with Berlin over the matter, with German foreign minister Heiko Maas thanking the Biden administration for doing so.
“We understand the decisions that have been taken in Washington as taking into account the really extraordinarily good relationship that have been built with the Biden administration,” Maas had said.
As seen in the image, there are currently 7 boats flying the Russian flag near the Fortuna & participating in the Nord Stream 2 project, while in the surrounding area, AIS data shows that there are another 7 offshore vessels, seemingly participating in the project too. pic.twitter.com/TOsJTUKswu
— MarineTraffic (@MarineTraffic) May 24, 2021
But as we noted at the time, Biden was immediately slammed for the act of “capitulation” after long vowing to get “tough” on Russia by Republicans but also Democrat hawks, including in conservative and independent media outlets which pointed out that Trump would have no doubt been accused of being under “Russian influence” had he been the one to relax sanctions.
Tue, 05/25/2021 – 02:45