23:42 GMT17 June 2021
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    Russia's Fortuna vessel has continued building the 745-mile-long pipeline in German waters, despite significant pressure from the United States, which has recently imposed sanctions on Russian companies and vessels involved in the project.

    German Minister of Foreign Affairs Heiko Maas said on Tuesday that negotiations between Germany and the US on the subject of cancelling Nord Stream 2-related sanctions are expected to be difficult but were underway. There was still an interest in "finding a common path", the minsiter added.

    "As you know, negotiations are now underway between the German government and the administration in Washington, we not only took into account the decision in Washington and the comments of President Biden on this topic, but also stressed that we have an interest in finding a common path," the foreign affairs minister said. 

    According to Maas, who spoke to reporters ahead of a meeting with his counterparts from fellow NATO member states in Washington, the talks were intended to find a solution to the issue of Nord Stream 2. Maas said he was all up for dialogue on the matter. 

    "I am confident that we will succeed in finding a way, even though it will certainly not be easy and may not happen quickly," the minister noted.

    Nord Stream 2 Lives Despite Sanctions

    In May, the United States blacklisted 13 Russian ships involved in the implementation of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline and three Russian companies linked to the project. Washington's previous sanctions have prompted Swiss pipelay company Allseas to withdraw from the construction, causing a delay in pipe-laying work. 

    The US maintains that the project will strengthen Russia's hold on Europe and its energy market, but has decided to waive the penalties against the pipeline's chief executive, Nord Stream 2 AG, the Swithzerland-registered firm behind its construction. 

    According to the US State Department, the company's activity, and that of its chief executive, Matthias Warnig, was sanctionable, but Biden administration believed that it was in Washington's "national interest" not to go on with penalties. 

    © Sputnik / Dmitry Lelchuk
    Construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline in Germany

    The pipeline, which is set to deliver Russian gas to Germany, is some 95% complete, according to estimates. 

    While Russia's Akademik Cherskiy pipe-laying vessel is currently carrying out work in Danish waters, the Fortuna vessel has continued its construction efforts in German waters. 

    Despite the pressure from the US, Germany has been adamant to keep the project alive. 

    According to German lawmaker Klaus Ernst, who heads of the  parliamentary committee on economy and energy, Berlin has "done everything possible" to see the project completed.

    Ernst was sure that would be the case, as the German Bundestag and the federal government "have been also clearly opposing the illegal US sanctions."

    Moscow previously said that Washington's opposition to the $11bn project had an economic rationale and accused the US of undermining global competition with its crusade against Nord Stream 2.

    Russia, Nord Stream 2, Germany, United States
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