U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has appointed former diplomat Amos Hochstein as senior adviser on energy security with a focus on measures to “reduce the risks” posed by the German-Russian Nord Stream 2 pipeline and support energy security in Eastern Europe.
The appointment demonstrates Washington’s resolve to “push back against the Kremlin’s use of energy as a geopolitical weapon” and foster a secure and sustainable energy future for Ukraine, NATO members, and the European Union, Blinken said in a statement on August 10.
Germany and the United States reached an agreement on Nord Stream 2 in July, ending years of bickering between the allies over the nearly complete pipeline that will bring Russian natural gas to Germany under the Baltic Sea.
Berlin and Washington jointly pledged support for Ukraine, which will potentially be deprived of gas-transit fees when the pipeline is complete. They also committed to confronting Russia if it uses energy to apply political pressure.
Germany is also to appoint a special envoy to negotiate a 10-year extension of Russia's current transit agreement with Ukraine, which expires at the end of 2024.
Hochstein is a businessman and former lobbyist who was a special envoy for international energy affairs during the Obama administration.
In 2020, he stepped down from the supervisory board of Ukraine’s state-owned gas company Naftogaz amid concerns about a slowdown in reform and creeping corruption.