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A top European official is cautioning against the United States imposing sanctions on a natural-gas pipeline being built now between Russia and Germany.

Why it matters: President Trump and Europe have shared interests in exporting American natural gas across the Atlantic, but interests diverge over this pipeline. U.S. officials say the pipeline unnecessarily allows Russia to continue its dominance over European natural gas. Some European leaders have been more supportive of it.

“...even though we say that pipeline is a controversial one, we still think that partners like the U.S. the [European Union], we shouldn’t impose sanctions on individual cases — in this case European companies — because I believe we can always find ways to look for the common solution.”
— European Commission Vice President Maroš Šefčovič

The context: Šefčovič made his comments during an interview with Axios last week in Washington.

Driving the news: Energy Secretary Rick Perry told reporters in Kiev on Tuesday that the U.S. is preparing to sanction companies working on Russia's long-proposed Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, Reuters reports. Perry said both chambers would pass a sanctions bill and Trump would sign it.

One level deeper: It wasn’t clear what bill Perry was referring to, but Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), introduced a bill last week imposing sanctions on vessels used to construct the deep-sea pipelines.

The other side: A spokesman for the pipeline project, Jens Mueller told S&P Global: "Our shareholder [Russia's Gazprom] and the five European financial investors are fully committed to the project, as are Nord Stream 2's suppliers.”

  • “The European investors are France's Engie, Austria's OMV, Germany's Wintershall and Uniper, and Shell,” per S&P.

Go deeper: Nord Stream 2 explained, via CNBC

Go deeper

National Guard chief says it took 3 hours for Pentagon to grant Jan. 6 request

Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

William Walker, commanding general of the D.C. National Guard, will testify Wednesday that it took three hours and 19 minutes for Pentagon leadership to approve a request for National Guard assistance during the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, according to his prepared remarks.

Why it matters: The timeline over when National Guard requests were made and granted has been a key point of contention in congressional hearings examining the security failures surrounding the Capitol riots.

30 mins ago - World

International Criminal Court opens Israel-Palestine war crimes probe

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netnayahu has strongly objected to the investigation. Photo: Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images

International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor Fatou Bensouda on Wednesday announced her intention to open an investigation into crimes allegedly committed in the Palestinian territories since 2014.

Why it matters: The investigation is expected to consider possible war crimes by Israel and Hamas during the 2014 war in Gaza, as well as the construction of West Bank settlements by Israel. It could sharply increase tensions between Israel, which fiercely opposes the probe, and Palestinian leaders, who requested it.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
1 hour ago - Energy & Environment

Exxon says it's well-positioned amid investor pressure

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

ExxonMobil said Wednesday that its oil-and-gas development plans will create good returns even at modest oil prices as the company looks to win back investor confidence after several rocky years.

Driving the news: The company, just ahead of an investor presentation this morning, said its investments are designed to generate returns of over 30% and touted its spending reductions.