Earlier on Sunday, German media reported that Grenell had sent letters to a number of German companies and hinted at the possibility of imposing US sanctions for supporting the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline construction project. The ambassador's spokesperson said that Grenell’s letters should be perceived not as a “threat”, but as a clear expression of US policy.
According to the publication, the companies that received the letters appealed to the ministry for advice on how to respond to such threats. The ministry advised them to leave the letters unanswered, regarding them as a provocation, the newspaper said.
Nord Stream 2 is a joint venture of Russian gas giant Gazprom and five European companies. It aims to deliver 55 billion cubic metres (1.9 trillion cubic feet) of Russian natural gas annually to the European Union via the Baltic Sea and Germany. The pipeline project has been welcomed by some countries in Europe and opposed by others that feel it might increase their dependence on Russian gas.
The United States has been strongly opposing the Nord Stream 2 project. With regard to this, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that US President Donald Trump was pursuing the interests of US businesses to deliver liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Europe.