15:35 GMT06 March 2021
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline will be launched before the end of 2020 despite US sanctions, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said Friday.

    "Nord Stream 2 will be launched before the end of the year," Novak told reporters.

    According to Russia's energy minister, Gazprom's pipe-laying vessel Akademik Cherskiy could be used to complete the construction of Nord Stream 2, "but some time will be needed for additional preparation".

    The vessel is currently in Russia's Far East.

    Last week, US President Donald Trump signed a 2020 defence bill, which includes, among other articles, sanctions against the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, set to carry Russian gas to Europe. Swiss company Allseas, which had been laying pipes for the project has already suspended its work.

    The Nord Stream 2 is a joint venture between Gazprom and five European companies: France's ENGIE, Austria's OMV, the UK-Dutch Royal Dutch Shell, and Germany's Uniper and Wintershall. The 745-mile twin gas pipeline will carry up to 55 billion cubic meters (1.942 trillion cubic feet) of fossil fuels per year from Russia to Germany, passing through territorial waters or exclusive economic zones of Denmark, Finland, Germany, Russia and Sweden.

    US sanctions, Nord Stream 2, Russia
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