Biden announces sanctions against Nord Stream 2 owner, reversing 2021 decision

The sanctions follow Germany's announcement that they are also taking steps to put the pipeline on hold

President Biden announced that he will be imposing sanctions on the owner of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline connecting Russia and Germany, in response to Russian actions in Ukraine.

The move reverses a May 2021 decision to waive sanctions on the project, which was heavily criticized by Republicans. The sanctions will affect Nord Stream 2 AG and its CEO Matthis Warnig.

In a statement issued from the White House Wednesday afternoon, Biden referenced Germany’s recent announcement that it would halt the pipeline’s certification and thanked Chancellor Olaf Scholz for his cooperation in "holding Russia accountable" for its aggression.

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FILE - Matthias Warnig, chief executive officer of Nord Stream 2 AG, attends a meeting with Russia's President Vladimir Putin and Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev in Sochi, Russia, Oct. 12, 2017. (REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov / Reuters Photos)

Nord Stream 2 is a 764-mile-long natural gas pipeline under the Baltic Sea, running from Russia to Germany's Baltic coast. 

It runs parallel to an earlier Nord Stream pipeline and would double its capacity, to 110 billion cubic meters of gas a year. It means the Russian state-owned energy company Gazprom can send gas to Europe's pipeline system without using existing pipelines running through Ukraine and Poland.

"These steps are another piece of our initial tranche of sanctions in response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine," Biden said. "As I have made clear, we will not hesitate to take further steps if Russia continues to escalate."

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The pipeline would allow Russia to transport gas without going through Ukraine, which would stand to lose profits if Nord Stream 2 operates.

"Through his actions, President Putin has provided the world with an overwhelming incentive to move away from Russian gas and to other forms of energy," Biden said.

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Biden's decision to impose sanctions on Russia was spurred by Russian President Vladimir Putin signing decrees to recognize the independence of separatists regions of eastern Ukraine. Putin also delivered remarks Monday in which he claimed that Ukraine is historically part of Russia. 

Fox News' Michael Lee and Bradford Betz contributed to this report.