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US Sanctions Could Stop Nord Stream 2 for Years, Ex-US Ambassador to Ukraine Claims

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The US in December 2019 rushed counter-measures against the Russian-European gas pipeline, and although one contractor, Swiss-based Allseas Group S.A., suspended its work following the move, the pipeline will nonetheless be operational in 2021 at the latest, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated.

The director of the Eurasian center of the Atlantic Council, John Herbst, who served as US Ambassador to Ukraine, has warned that recent US sanctions targeting companies involved in the Nord Stream 2 project, will not be the only hurdle.

Russian outlet Lenta.ru, citing Ukrainian media, reports that he claimed that these punitive measures have halted the Russian-European venture, set to deliver natural gas to the EU under the Baltic Sea, for years, but new obstacles could also appear.

The former diplomat earlier predicted that the project will be halted for two years, enough time for the US and other suppliers of liquefied natural gas to enter the European market.

US President Donald Trump signed the National Defence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020, which, among other things, stipulated in in December 2019 sanctions against the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. The US Department of the State also warned that pipeline contractors could elude sanctions if they exit the project by 20 January.

Following this announcement, Swiss-based Allseas Group S.A., which was participating in the project's construction, announced that it would suspend its pipe-laying work over fears of being slapped with American economic measures.

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech during a session of the Russian Energy Week international forum in Moscow, Russia October 3, 2018 - Sputnik International
Putin on Nord Stream 2: It Would Be a Shame if EU Fails to Defend Its Interests
However, as President Vladimir Putin said at a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel earlier in January, Russia could complete Nord Stream 2 on its own and that the only issue in this regard was timing. According to Putin, the gas pipeline will be operational by the end of the first quarter of 2021, at the latest.

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