German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Tuesday moved to halt the certification of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline in response to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recognition of two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine and decision to deploy troops to the areas.
“In light of the most recent developments, we must reassess the situation, in particular, regarding Nord Stream 2,” Scholz said, according to CNBC.
Scholz reportedly stated that his nation would not recognize the pro-Russian, separatist regions of Ukraine, adding that he would order German officials to “make sure that this pipeline cannot be certified at this point in time, and without this certification Nord Stream 2 cannot operate.”
“The appropriate departments of the economy ministry will make a new assessment of the security of our supply in light of what has changed in last few days,” Scholz said, according to CNBC.
Nord Stream 2, which was constructed to double the gas flow from Russia to Germany, had been a source of contention. It faced opposition from Washington and Kyiv due to concerns that it would increase European energy dependence on Moscow and make Ukraine more susceptible to a Russian invasion, notes Reuters.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a tweet on Tuesday that President Biden “made clear that if Russia invaded Ukraine, we would act with Germany to ensure Nord Stream 2 does not move forward.”
“We have been in close consultations with Germany overnight and welcome their announcement,” she added. “We will be following up with our own measures today.”
Scholz also said on Tuesday that Europe faced “difficult hours,” and that “almost 80 years after the end of the Second World War, we might see a new war in Eastern Europe.”
“It is our task to avert such a disaster and I call upon Russia once more to contribute their share,” he added.
–Morgan Chalfant contributed to this report, which was updated at 8:59 a.m.