Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Friday that the attacks on the Nord Stream natural gas pipelines that connect Russia to Germany offer a “tremendous opportunity” to end Europe’s dependency on Russian energy.
“It’s a tremendous opportunity to once and for all remove the dependence on Russian energy and thus to take away from Vladimir Putin the weaponization of energy as a means of advancing his imperial designs,” Blinken said at a joint press conference with Canadian Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly.
“That’s very significant and that offers tremendous strategic opportunity for the years to come,” Blinken added.
Blinken made the comments when asked what the US and Canada are doing to ease Europe’s energy crisis in the wake of the Nord Stream sabotage. Blinken said that Washington had been working for some time to provide Europe with more energy, and as a result, the US is now Europe’s biggest supplier of liquefied natural gas (LNG).
“And we’re now the leading supplier of LNG to Europe to help compensate for any gas or oil that it’s losing as a result of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine,” Blinken said.
Over the years, the US worked hard to oppose Nord Stream 2 by imposing sanctions but failed to stop its construction. The project was paused by Berlin after Russia invaded Ukraine.
There was always a chance Nord Stream 2 could be brought online if relations between Europe and Russia thawed, but now the damage could be irreparable. Russia recently stopped delivering gas through Nord Stream 1 as a result of Western sanctions.
At this point, it’s not clear who was behind the attacks on Nord Stream, but the US certainly has a motive. On Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin blamed the “Anglo-Saxons” for the incident, appearing to point the finger at the US and its allies.