May 21, 2021
Ukrainian journalist, commentator and writer Vitaly Portnikov wrote for espreso.tv , “Thedecisions of the US State Department to partially waive sanctions against Nord Stream II – the actual sanctions remain in place and are strengthened but a waiver was issued on sanctions against the company operating the project and its CEO Matthias Warnig – are difficult to call a victory for Ukrainian diplomacy.
These decisions are rightly called a victory for German diplomacy. It is no coincidence that Germany Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, who spoke about the situation around Nord Stream 2 with US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, called the American decision ‘constructive.’ And this means that the White House considers improving relations with Germany and the ‘return’ of the United States to the European continent, as more important priorities, than stopping the construction of Nord Stream 2. And they are also sending an unequivocal signal to the Kremlin – it’s no coincidence that the statement on the decision of the State Department was published 30 minutes after the beginning of the meeting between Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
And, of course, that this decision says more about the State Department’s real level of trust to the office of Volodymyr Zelenskyy than a thousand words, also needs no explanation. But the most important thing now is not this level of trust, about which everything was clear after Blinken implemented personal sanctions against the former business partner of President Zelenskyy – oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky.
The most important thing now is how to stop the construction of Nord Stream 2, how to implement sanctions. And here, everything is far from lost. Even if we can’t convince the Administration and State Department of the correctness of our position, the reaction in the US Congress shows that Ukraine has influential allies – among both Democrats and Republicans.
In other words, the situation that was common during the presidency of Donald Trump may be repeated – when the reluctance of the Administration to act effectively against Russia and in support of Ukraine was challenged by Congress and became law.
‘I am opposed to the decision by the Biden Administration to waive sanctions on NS2 AG and Matthias Warnig. I urge the administration to rip off the Band-Aid, lift these waivers and move forward with the congressionally mandated sanctions,’ stated the Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Bob Mendendez, a Democrat.
‘Stunning. In defiance of U.S. law, Biden is actively helping Putin build his pipeline,’ stated Senator Ted Cruz, a Republican.
And there are many such illustrations of opposition to the State Department’s decision.
And this means, that with a professional approach to the situation, not only the continuation, but the further legislative implementation of sanctions can be achieved – for years, if not decades. It remains only to show this professional approach.”