President Joe Biden threatened Russian President Vladimir Putin with leveling sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 Pipeline, even after he scrapped them in May.
The White House said Biden warned Putin the United States would deploy “strong economic measures” if Russia invaded Ukraine.
After the call, Biden’s national security advisor Jake Sullivan specifically mentioned the Nord Stream 2 pipeline in a briefing with reporters.
“If Vladimir Putin wants to see gas flow through that pipeline, he may not want to take the risk of invading Ukraine,” Sullivan said, reminding Russia that the pipeline was not complete.
Biden’s tone is sharply different from his decision in May to scrap sanctions on the pipeline leveled by former President Donald Trump.
The president described the pipeline sanctions as “counterproductive” in May.
“To go ahead and impose sanctions now would, I think, be counterproductive in terms of our European relations,” he said. “They know how strongly I feel.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other European leaders support the pipeline, even while Ukrainian leaders oppose it.
Republicans continue warning that Russia bypassing Ukraine to Germany would make them more reliant on Russian President Vladimir Putin and hand him a major geopolitical victory.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) repeated his criticism of Biden’s handling of the pipeline issue on Tuesday.
“History will remember that as Ukraine faced invasion from Russia, Joe Biden used every last trick in the book to exempt sanctions on Putin’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline,” he wrote on social media.