07:53 GMT25 February 2021
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The European Union will be unable to suspend the building of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline without Germany’s approval, being a project conducted jointly by a group of privately-owned firms, European Commission Spokesman Peter Stano said on Friday.

    The Nord Stream 2 project is designed to build a 745-mile-long twin pipeline that will carry up to 2 trillion cubic feet of gas per year from Russia to Germany, passing through the territorial waters or exclusive economic zones of Russia, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and Germany.

    "Nord Stream 2 is a project of a group of private firms, and we cannot prevent the companies from building it, if the German Government agrees with that. Should these companies finalize the pipeline, they should know that they will need to operate in line with European Union law. This is the most that we can do at the European Union level," Stano said.

    He also noted the EU Commission’ intention to ensure that, if built, the Nord Stream 2 pipeline works in line with the key principles of European energy policy.

    © AP Photo / Jens Buettner
    Pipes for the construction of the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline from Russia to Germany and the Baltic Pipe from Denmark to Poland are stored at the port of Mukran in Sassnitz on the island of Ruegen, Germany, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021

    Several high-ranking officials of the EU member countries, French President Emmanuel Macron in particular, have spoken in support of additional sanctions against Moscow following a Russian court’s decision to replace Alexey Navalny’s suspended sentence in 2014 Yves Rocher fraud case with a jail sentence of 3.5 years. Their statements implied a call to link possible sanctions against Russia over Navalny with the Nord Stream 2 project.

    Despite Berlin making similar calls on Moscow to free Navalny, it has affirmed that its stance regarding the Russian-led pipeline project remained unchanged, saying the project is seen by the government as a commercial and not political initiative and thus has to be completed.

    Alexei Navalny, Russia, Germany, EU
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