09:22 GMT19 September 2020
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    Germany and Russia have long said that the Nord Stream 2 pipeline is a purely economic, not political, project, but despite this, as well as Berlin's warnings against meddling in Europe's internal affairs, the US has introduced sanctions against the project, vowing to punish anyone assisting in its construction.

    A spokeswoman for the German Association of Energy and Water Industries has defended the Nord Stream 2 pipeline as a project serving the economic needs of the European continent, calling its introduction a positive thing for the EU.

    "Nord Stream 2 is a project of the private sector of economy. Every new introduced pipeline that delivers gas to Europe is a positive development that ensures reliable [energy] shipments", the spokeswoman said.

    Sanctions Against Russian Gas Pipelines

    The project encountered trouble, along with its southern "twin" - the TurkStream, as the US introduced sanctions against the pipelines on 21 December, calling the move a "pro-European" step aimed at defending the continent's energy security. However, Germany disagreed with Washington's characterisation of the move, calling it rather "interference in [Germany's] domestic affairs" and slamming extraterritorial sanctions.

    Russia, which will be supplying gas via these pipelines, also criticised the American sanctions, vowing to retaliate and complete the project despite Washington's economic measures. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stressed that the latest US actions showed that Washington can't be relied on as it "punishes closest [its] allies for solving economic problems" and "can drop out [of its promises] at any moment".

    The European Commission also slammed the US for trying to punish European companies "conducting legitimate business" and promised to study possible implications that the new sanctions might have on these companies.

    Fighting Russian Gas by Promoting Its Own LNG?

    Last year, US President Donald Trump criticised Germany for paying Russia for gas while simultaneously demanding that Washington defend it from alleged Russian aggression, something which has been repeatedly denied by Moscow. Trump proposed that Germany instead buy liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the US, despite the latter being considerably more expensive than the Russian pipeline equivalent.

    Russia's President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly called for avoiding politicising the Nord Stream 2 project, arguing that it was devised out of economic calculations and not out of political scheming. German Chancellor Angela Merkel also defended Nord Stream as a purely economic project, not linked to European politics.

    Related:

    US Sanctions Will Not Affect Construction of Nord Stream 2, TurkStream Pipelines - AmCham
    No Country Should Doubt US Unreliability After Sanctions on Nord Stream 2, TurkStream - Lavrov
    Nord Stream 2 to Be Completed Soon Despite Challenges it Faces - Russian Energy Minister
    Germany's Uniper Sure Nord Stream 2 Pipeline to Be Completed Soon Despite Sanctions
    German Gov't Believes Nord Stream 2 Row Must Be Resolved Politically - Coordinator
    Tags:
    Nord Stream 2, Germany, gas, Russia, US sanctions, US
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