In Deal With Germany, U.S. Drops Threat to Block Russian Gas Pipelines

The announcement followed Chancellor Angela Merkel’s meetings in Washington last week with Mr. Biden, who said during the visit that the two leaders had agreed that they were “united in our conviction that Russia should not be able to use energy as a weapon.”

“I had, as you know, a very, very fruitful discussion with Angela Merkel,” Mr. Biden said on Wednesday night. “She’s working, and the German government, on commitments that suggest that if in fact Russia takes pains to deliberately inflict pain on Ukraine and other countries, they will respond.”

White House officials said on Wednesday that President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, who has urged Congress to try to stop the project with sanctions, would visit in August.

Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, called the agreement with Germany “a generational geopolitical win” for President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia and “a catastrophe for the United States and our allies.”

Mr. Cruz, whose constituents in Texas include key energy exporters, has held up the confirmation of several Biden administration officials over the last several months in his insistence that the United States stop the pipelines from being completed. “President Biden is defying U.S. law and has utterly surrendered to Putin,” he said in a statement. “Decades from now, Russian dictators will still be reaping billions from Biden’s gift, and Europe will still be subject to Russian energy blackmail.”

Senator Jeanne Shaheen, Democrat of New Hampshire, said she welcomed the diplomatic efforts with key European allies. But, she said, “I’ve long contended that the Nord Stream 2 pipeline should not be completed because it empowers the Kremlin to spread its malign influence throughout Eastern Europe, threatens the economic security of our European partners and puts our global stability at risk.”

“I continue to believe that,” she said.

The State Department officials bristled at the suggestion that the Biden administration had capitulated and noted that American sanctions related to the project had been imposed against 19 entities since Mr. Biden took office, compared with two during the term of President Donald J. Trump.

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