A Dutch media outlet has witnessed a verbal clash between Russian Ambassador to the Netherlands Alexander Shulgin and his American counterpart Pete Hoekstra over the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.article for De Telegraaf, with a stark warning to European companies against working on the joint venture with Russian gas giant Gazprom:
“Do not give the Russians the power over your gas supplies”.
Otherwise, he claimed, the companies were giving Moscow the power to close “your gas tap” whenever it wanted to.
“The Russians have done that before. Russia continues to threaten its neighbours and tries to destabilise Western governments in different ways. Nord Stream 2 gives Russian President [Vladimir] Putin a new weapon to continue these shameful acts”, he wrote, calling for a boycott.
According to a source from the Russian Embassy, Russia’s Alexander Shulgin retaliated, having published an “extensive response from the Russian perspective” in the same newspaper.
"According to Shulgin, his American counterpart uses far-fetched geopolitical pretexts in order to encourage the Dutch and other Western Europeans to buy expensive liquefied gas from overseas instead of cheap pipeline gas from Russia", the source said.
Last week, German media reported that US Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell had penned letters to a number of local companies, and hinted at possible sanctions for supporting the project.
The project is due to be wrapped up before the end of 2019 and envisages the construction of two gas pipelines that will run from Russia, through the Baltic Sea and to a hub in Germany, bypassing Ukraine entirely.
The United States has consistently spoken out against the project, claiming that it will increase Europe’s dependence on Russian gas. President Putin, in turn, said that his American counterpart Donald Trump was pursuing the interests of US companies to sell more expensive LNG to Europe.