Ex-CIA Official: Biden’s Nord Stream 2 Decision Has ‘Nothing to Do’ With Potential Russian Invasion

A former CIA Moscow chief disagreed with Republicans who blame Russia’s actions threatening Ukraine on President Joe Biden’s handling of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

The pipeline has been built to carry natural gas directly from Russian to Western Europe. It is not operational yet.

Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Marco Rubio, R-Fla., are among Republicans who say Russian President Vladimir Putin could invade Ukraine as a result of the Biden administration showing weakness by deciding sanctions on the pipeline will be waived.

Former CIA chief of station Daniel Hoffman told the Daily Caller that Putin’s actions have little to do with the pipeline.

“That is not why Vladimir Putin is doing this,” Hoffman told the Daily Caller. “That has nothing to do with the timing of why he’s doing this. He’s deadly serious about Ukraine not joining NATO and that’s the way he’s looking at this.

“I don’t think [Republican claims] hold water at all,” Hoffman added to the Daily Caller. “It’s because of ideas like liberty, freedom and democracy, which is what Ukraine has going for it … if those ideas came to Russia, Putin would be gone.”

Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced the U.S. would waive sanctions on the pipeline in May. Biden then gave final approval in July after meeting with then-German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Now, thousands of Russian troops have assembled near the Ukraine border.

Cruz last week blasted Biden from the Senate floor, saying Russia’s moves toward Ukraine are a “direct consequence of Joe Biden’s surrender to Vladimir Putin on Nord Stream 2.”

“Putin didn’t just wake up recently and decide to invade Ukraine,” Cruz said. “He’s wanted to invade Ukraine for years. He did so in 2014, but he stopped short of full invasion. Why? Because the Ukrainian energy infrastructure was necessary to get the Russian gas to market.

“Nord Stream 2 is all about building an alternative avenue to get the Russian gas to Europe so then the Russian tanks can ride into Ukraine.'”

Rubio agreed with his GOP Senate colleague.

“President Biden gave Putin a pass on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline,” Rubio told the Daily Caller. “That decision left our friends in Eastern Europe, including Ukraine, incredibly vulnerable to Moscow. Now, we find that Putin is planning an invasion on Ukraine.”

Former Under Secretary of Defense Robert Wilkie, who served in the Trump administration, has said “Biden made a preemptive concession at the beginning of his administration without going to the table and talking with Putin.

“Once the natural gas starts to flow, you have just tethered Western European comfort and prosperity to Moscow,” Wilkie previously told the Daily Caller.

The Associated Press reported Friday that a senior Russian diplomat warned the U.S. and its NATO allies that their own security would suffer if they “torpedo” providing Russia with certain military guarantees — one being asking NATO to rescind its promise to Ukraine and Georgia that they would eventually become members.

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