Germany puts a stop to Nord Stream 2, a key Russian natural gas pipeline while U.S. Weighs initial response to Russia

Pipes for the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, stacked at the Mukran port outside Sassnitz, Germany, in 2020.Credit…Lena Mucha for The New York Times

The German Response:

Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Tuesday that Germany would halt certification of the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline that would link his country with Russia, one of the strongest moves yet by the West to punish the Kremlin for recognizing two separatist regions in Ukraine.

The German leader’s announcement came hours after President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia ordered armed forces to the separatist regions, the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics.

Germany’s allies in Europe and the United States had been pressing Mr. Scholz for weeks to state publicly that the $11 billion pipeline, which was completed late last year and runs from Russia’s coast to northern Germany under the Baltic Sea, would be at risk of being blocked in the event of a Russian move against Ukraine. New York Times

The US Response:

White House officials said a further Western response would be announced on Tuesday, by which time several of Mr. Biden’s aides said they expected to see Russian forces rolling over the border into Ukraine, crossing the line that Mr. Biden had set for imposing “swift and severe” sanctions on Moscow.

That response will include at least some sanctions, a White House official said late Monday, in response to “Moscow’s decisions and actions.” But officials declined to provide details about how far Mr. Biden and his allies planned to go in punishing Mr. Putin.

The harshest of the sanctions that administration officials have previewed in recent weeks include cutting Russia’s largest banks off from the global economic system, starving Russian heavy industry of semiconductors and other advanced technology, and — if it comes to it — arming an insurgency as Ukrainians fight for their freedom. New York Times