Russia, Germany criticize US threat to sanction Nord Stream 2

Russia and Germany have rejected the recent U.S. threat to sanction the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, criticizing the move as disregard for Europe’s energy sovereignty.

The Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, stretching 1,230 km from Russia to Germany via the Baltic Sea, involves the construction of two pipelines with a total capacity of 55 billion cubic meters per year from the Russian coast to Germany. The project is scheduled to start operation in the middle of 2020.

The Kremlin said on Thursday that Washington’s threat to impose sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 as well as the second line of the TurkStream pipeline stretching from Russia to Turkey across the Black Sea is “unfair competition.”

“This is a continuation of negative manifestations, a continuation of a rough line on the introduction of various restrictions, a rough pressure on European business, which includes our companies,” Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

He reiterated that with its threat, the United States is trying to force Europeans to buy more expensive U.S. liquefied gas on less favorable terms.

Kremlin’s statement came one day after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sent fresh warnings of possible sanctions to companies involved in the two projects.

Pompeo claimed these projects are not commercial but serve as Moscow’s tools to exploit European dependence on Russia’s energy supplies that ultimately undermine transatlantic security.

“Companies aiding and abetting Russia’s malign influence projects will not be tolerated,” he noted. “Get out now or risk the consequences.”

As a matter of fact, U.S. President Donald Trump has long voiced his discontentment about the Nord Stream 2 project, complaining about Germany’s large payment to Russia on energy and “delinquency” on military spending.

In response to Washington’s threat, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said “European energy policy is made in Europe.”

“By announcing measures that will also sanction European companies, the U.S. government is disregarding the right and sovereignty of Europe to decide where and how we source our energy,” said Maas in a statement.

“European energy policy is made in Europe and not in Washington. We clearly reject extraterritorial sanctions,” Maas added.

Mass said that the German government had held numerous talks with the United States in recent weeks as Washington was planning to tighten a sanctions law against Nord Stream 2. The law — U.S. Protecting Europe’s Energy Security Act — was enacted in late December 2019.

Peter Beyer, the German government coordinator for transatlantic relations, also tweeted Thursday that the United States should grant Europe comprehensive energy sovereignty.

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