03:47 GMT +320 January 2020
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    On Tuesday, the US Senate voted for the US’ $738 billion defence budget, which includes sanctions on those contractors who are participating in the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.

    Representatives of Germany’s Social Democratic Party (SPD) have lashed out at Washington over its recent decision to slap sanctions against the Nord Stream 2 project.

    In an interview with the German TV channel ZDF, Saskia Esken, one of the SPD's co-chairs, described the sanctions as “not a very friendly step”, urging Berlin to respond to Washington’s move.

    She added that US policy of trying to “influence the European order” is still an issue.

    Minister-president of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Manuel Schwezig, for her part, told the RedaktionsNetzwerk Deutschland (RND) media group that she believes that the US pursues its own economic interests when it comes to the anti-Nord Stream 2 sanctions.

    “This is an absolutely unacceptable decision”, she said, referring to the sanctions and adding that “Germany must decide on its own from whom and how to receive energy.”

    She emphasised that Nord Stream 2 is of great importance for Germany’s energy supply and expressed concern over the project’s possible disruption.

    “In the coming years, we will move away from nuclear and coal energy. The [Nord Stream 2] gas pipeline is important for the future of Germany's energy supply. I do hope that the gas pipeline will be implemented,” Schwezig said.

    She spoke after Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov slammed US sanctions on Nord Stream 2 as “a perfect example of unfair competition", saying that Washington is imposing more expensive gas on Europe. He added that both "Moscow and Europe dislike US sanctions on Nord Stream 2, as these measures violate international law."

    The statement followed the US Senate voting 86-8 in favour of the 2020 National Defence Authorization Act (NDAA), which will now be forwarded to US President Donald Trump's desk to be signed into law. The bill includes sanctions against Nord Stream 2, Turkey, and Syria along with a range of other measures.

    Last week, Steffen Kotre, a German politician for the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party and a member of the Bundestag, berated Berlin for yielding to Washington’s pressure pertaining to the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project.

    He underscored Nord Stream 2’s importance in ensuring Germany’s energy security, saying that attempts to “torpedo” the implementation of the project should have prompted the government of Angela Merkel to immediately take measures to defend it.

    US Wants to Disrupt Nord Stream 2 Project

    Nord Stream 2 is a joint venture between the Russian energy giant Gazprom and five European companies: France's ENGIE, Austria's OMV, the UK-Dutch company Royal Dutch Shell, and Germany's Uniper and Wintershall.

    The pipeline is due to be finished before the end of this year and will carry up to 55 billion cubic meters of gas per year from Russia to Germany and Central Europe, bypassing the traditional route through Ukraine and Poland.

    The US has repeatedly tried to undermine the project, threatening everyone involved with sanctions, while promoting its liquefied natural gas on the European market.

    Ukraine is also actively opposing Nord Stream 2, as it fears it will lose revenue from Russian gas transit. Moscow says that the project is absolutely commercial and competitive, and that it does not imply the cancellation of the transit of Russian gas via Ukraine to the EU.

    Related:

    US to Target Other Russian Energy Projects After ‘Defeat' Over Nord Stream 2 – Report
    Europe Should Retaliate to US Sanctions on Nord Stream 2, German-Russian Chamber of Commerce Says
    German Foreign Minister Calls on US to Refrain From Imposing Sanctions on Nord Stream 2
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