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President Biden with German Chancellor Angela Merkel Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and 10 of his European counterparts signed onto a joint statement Monday voicing their opposition to the U.S.-Germany deal on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, calling it "another tool" for Russia to "pressure and blackmail" Ukraine.

Why it matters: Outrage over the agreement, which will allow Russia to circumvent Ukraine and deliver gas directly to Europe, goes beyond just Republican Biden critics on Capitol Hill.

The big picture: The Biden administration itself has condemned Nord Stream 2 as "a Kremlin geopolitical project that threatens European energy security," but argues that the pipeline's completion is a "fait accompli" and that more sanctions would only serve to damage relations with Germany.

  • Under the terms of the deal, Germany agreed to take action if Russia tries to "use energy as a weapon," set up a "green fund" to help Ukraine modernize its energy sector, and seek to ensure Russia continues to pay Ukraine around $3 billion in gas transit fees annually.
  • Poland and Ukraine released a joint statement last month condemning the steps as "not sufficient."

What they're saying: The 11 parliamentary chairs said in a statement that the completion of Nord Stream 2 "will strengthen the impact of Russian gas in the European energy mix, endanger the national security of EU member states and the United States, and threaten the already precarious security and sovereignty of Ukraine."

  • They condemned Russia's "brutal aggression and military occupation" of Ukraine, and called on NATO and the EU to deliver a road map for Ukraine to obtain membership.
  • “We insist that any further agreements on Nord Stream 2 necessitate consultations across the transatlantic family," the chairs concluded. "Moreover, such diplomacy should happen with the fundamental principle in mind - countering malign Russian aggression is in all of NATO's, all EU members, and our partners in Central and Eastern Europe vital national security interests."

The statement was signed by:

  • 🇺🇸 Bob Menendez, chair of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee
  • 🇪🇪 Marko Mihkelson, chair of the Estonian Riigikogu's Foreign Affairs Committee
  • 🇨🇿 Ondřej Veselý, chair of the Czech Chamber of Deputies' Foreign Affairs Committee
  • 🇨🇿 Pavel Fischer, chair of the Czech Senate's Foreign Affairs, Defense and Security Committee
  • 🇮🇪 Charles Flanagan, chair of the Irish House of Oireachtas' Foreign Affairs Committee
  • 🇱🇻 Rihards Kols, chair of the Latvian Saeima's Foreign Affairs Committee
  • 🇵🇱 Marek Kuchciński, chair of the Polish Sejm's Foreign Affairs Committee
  • 🇵🇱 Bogdan Klich, chair of the Polish Senate's Foreign and European Union Affairs Committee
  • 🇺🇦 Oleksandr Merezhko, chair of the Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada's Committee on Foreign Policy and Interparliamentary Cooperation
  • 🇬🇧 Tom Tugenhadt, chair of the U.K. House of Commons' Foreign Affairs Committee
  • 🇱🇹 Žygimantas Pavilionis, chair of the Lithuanian Seimas' Foreign Affairs Committee

Go deeper

Updated Oct 19, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Trump sues National Archives, Jan. 6 committee to block records request

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Former President Trump filed a lawsuit Monday seeking to block the National Archives from releasing White House records to the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, citing executive privilege.

Why it matters: It's the latest escalation in Trump's campaign to disrupt the committee's sweeping probe into the circumstances surrounding Jan. 6, including his actions and communications leading up to the Capitol attack.

Jan. 6 committee recommends contempt charges against Bannon

Steve Bannon. Photo: Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

The House select committee investigating the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol riots unanimously approved a resolution Tuesday night recommending that former Trump aide Steve Bannon be held in contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with a subpoena.

Why it matters: The resolution sets up a House vote to refer Bannon for potential criminal prosecution, signaling that the committee will not tolerate attempts by former President Trump and his associates to stymie the investigation.

Trump says he plans to launch new social media network in 2022

Photo: Chris Delmas/AFP via Getty Images

Former President Trump on Wednesday announced plans to launch a social media network called "Truth Social," and that it would go public via a SPAC.

Why it matters: Most ex-presidents are focused on their legacies, by creating presidential libraries or engaging in philanthropic endeavors. Trump, however, remains consumed by social media.

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