Biden vows to 'end' Nord Stream 2 pipeline if Russian invades Ukraine, German chancellor less clear

The new German Chancellor had an awkward moment with the president in front of the press corp.
Joe Biden, White House, Jan. 19, 2022

President Biden says if Russia invades Ukraine, plans for the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline would be discontinued.

"If Russia invades – that means tanks or troops crossing the border of Ukraine, again, then there will be no longer a Nord Stream 2. We will bring an end to it," Biden said Monday after meeting at the White House with new German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. 

However, Scholz, whose country relies on Russia for much of its energy supply, did not openly support Biden's position.

"We have intensively prepared everything to be ready with the necessary sanctions if there is a military aggression against Ukraine," he said. "It is part of the process that we do not spell out everything in public, because Russia should understand that there might be even more to come."

When asked by a Reuters reporter whether he would "commit today to turning off and pulling the plug on Nord Stream 2," Scholz responded "As I already said, we are acting together. We are absolutely united and we will not be taking different steps."

The natural gas pipeline that runs between Russia and Germany has been completed since last September, but has yet to transport any gas. 

Biden has opposed the pipeline project and has asked Germany several times not to increase its energy reliance on Russia.

Berlin, however, believes the pipeline is an essential piece of infrastructure to transport a natural gas utility that Germany already buys from Russia. 

The difference in opinion between the U.S. and Germany on this major issue is one of the several key reasons that Western allies of NATO have not been able to arrive at a comprehensive retaliation plan against Moscow if it were to invade Ukraine.

Scholz's visit came as 2,000 U.S.-based troops deploy to Europe and another 1,000 service members who are already in the region shift into Romania.