Biden, world leaders to announce natural gas plan for Europe: report

President Biden
AP/Evan Vucci

President Biden and European leaders are expected to announce a plan on Friday for Europe to receive liquified natural gas (LNG) shipments in an effort to reduce reliance on Russia for energy, three U.S. officials familiar with the plan told The Washington Post.

The announcement is expected before Biden leaves for Poland, where he will travel to after meeting with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in Brussels on Friday, the newspaper reported. The paper noted that the details have not been finalized.

The president is also expected to announce a new round of sanctions against Russia while he is in Brussels. Two people familiar with the matter told the newspaper that the sanctions would target the country’s defense companies and subsidiaries, members of its parliament and other sectors.

The White House announced on Thursday that the U.S. and its allies would be sanctioning 328 Duma members in addition to sanctioning the Duma itself, 17 board members from the Russian financial institution Sovcombank, 48 Russian state-owned defense enterprises and several others.

A State Department spokesperson referred The Hill to the Department of Energy regarding the expected Friday announcement and pointed to several statements made by Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen regarding the sanctions announcement.

“With our partners and allies, the United States aims to strike the heart of Russia’s ability to engage in warfare and carry out aggression against other countries, including Ukraine,” Blinken said in a statement. 

“We will continue to impose costs until Putin ends this unprovoked war against Ukraine.  We call on those closest to Putin to cease and publicly condemn this cold-blooded war, which has caused the unconscionable death of hundreds of civilians, including children, and the largest humanitarian catastrophe in Europe since the Second World War.”

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan on Wednesday noted there was an expected announcement coming regarding reducing Europe’s energy reliance on Russian natural gas.

“A major priority for both the president and his European allies is to reduce the dependence of Europe on Russian gas. Full stop,” Sullivan told reporters.

“And the practical roadmap for how to do that — what steps have to be taken, what the United States can contribute, what Europe has to do itself — this has been the subject of intense back-and-forth over the course of the past few days and weeks,” he continued.  “And we will have more to say on this subject specifically on Friday, particularly with the European Commission and the European Commission president, von der Leyen. So he’ll discuss it tomorrow.”

The development comes as the U.S. and European nations seek to further isolate Russia economically by hitting its energy sector. 

The U.S. earlier this month announced it would ban Russian imports of natural gas, oil and coal. 

The Hill has reached out to the Department of Energy and White House National Security Council for comment.

Updated at 11:58 a.m.

Tags Antony Blinken energy independence Jake Sullivan Janet Yellen Joe Biden Joe Biden liquified natural gas Russia sanctions Ukraine

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