A Republican congressman has joined forces with German legislators calling on chancellor Angela Merkel to leave an agreement with Moscow to collaborate on a gas pipeline.
Rep. Mike Gallagher (R., Wisc.) joined several members of the German Bundestag in saying it is time to end economic partnerships with the Putin regime, rather than reward Moscow's bad behavior. First among those is the Nord Stream II pipeline, a proposed 764-mile oil pipeline between the two countries that could net Russia's energy sector millions of dollars per year.
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"It's long past time to end Nord Stream II," Gallagher tweeted Thursday. "The free world should not be in the business of giving Vladimir Putin leverage."
Now that @GermanyinUSA has found that Alexei Navalny was the victim of a chemical attack, it's long past time to end Nord Stream II. The free world should not be in the business of giving Vladimir Putin leverage. https://t.co/n0eHKtu3SY
— Rep. Mike Gallagher (@RepGallagher) September 2, 2020
German Bundestag members agreed. Norbert Röttgen, Merkel’s potential successor and chairman of the Bundestag’s foreign affairs committee, called for an end to the Nord Stream project and said its continuation would be an implicit endorsement of Putin’s "inhuman and contemptuous politics." The entirety of the German Green Party also supported the call for withdrawal from the Russo-German agreement, Business Insider reported Friday.
Gallagher, Röttgen, and Green Party co-chair Katrin Göring-Eckardt cited the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny as a reason for Germany to leave the pipeline agreement. "This openly attempted murder through the Kremlin's mafia-like structures should not just worry us but needs to have real consequences," said Göring-Eckardt.
German doctors have said that Navalny was poisoned by a Soviet-era toxin, to which only select special forces in Russia have access. The last recorded use of the toxin Novichok was in the 2018 assassination attempt of a Russian dissident in the U.K. Some national security experts have speculated the toxin’s usage required Putin’s express permission.
While Moscow denies any foul play in the critical condition of Navalny, American envoys have not hesitated to take the Kremlin to task for its apparent role in the pro-democracy leader’s near death.
"Such incidents of violence against government critics have the chilling effect of silencing independent voices, which is the intention of an attack like this," U.S. ambassador to the Organization for Cooperation and Security in Europe James Gilmore said in a statement. "They illustrate Russia's contempt for human life, international law, and its international commitments."