President Donald Trump signed a defense-spending bill that includes sanctions against companies involved in laying the “Nord stream-2” gas pipeline, which runs from Russia to Germany along the bottom of the Baltic Sea.
Washington, seeking to boost sales of its liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Europe, says “Nord stream-2” will make Europe too dependent on Russian gas supplies.
Russian state concern Gazprom, the initiator of the construction of “Nord stream- 2,” already supplies a third of all imported gas to Europe.
“Nord stream-2” will help Russia bypass Ukraine, which is now the main pipeline through which Russian gas is supplied to Europe. Moscow and Kyiv this week signed a new deal on gas transit at the end of the long ongoing negotiations.
“Nord stream-2” was scheduled to begin operations in the first half of 2020.
“The completion of the project is necessary for the safety of European supplies. Together with the companies supporting the project, we will work on the speedy completion of the construction of the gas pipeline,” “Nord stream-2” said on Saturday.
The announcement followed a report by one of the project participants, Swiss-Dutch Company Allseas, which announced the suspension of participation in the pipeline.
The company says it will “act in accordance with the winding-down clause” in US sanctions legislation against “Nord stream-2” and stressed that it expects guidance on regulatory, technical and environmental issues from US authorities.
The Russian Foreign Ministry on Saturday issued a statement saying that Moscow “will continue to implement its economic projects regardless of anyone’s sanctions.”
German Finance Minister and Vice-Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Berlin “strongly rejects” US sanctions against firms involved in “Nord stream-2.”
“These sanctions are a serious interference in the internal affairs of Germany and Europe and their sovereignty. We strongly reject this,” said Scholz in an interview with ARD TV channel Saturday.
“Now the companies involved in the construction of the pipeline must make appropriate decisions. It is clear to us that we will not accept the imposition of these sanctions, and we will make it clear to the US government,” the Minister added.