Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline will be completed in the near future, despite US pressure on those involved in the massive energy project.
The top Russian diplomat met with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on Tuesday. Speaking at a joint news conference after the talks, Lavrov said that all the participants of the Nord Stream 2 project, including Russia and Germany, are determined to finish it.
“In my understanding, there is reason to believe this will be done in the near future,” he told reporters, adding that European states should determine their energy policy on their own.
The statement comes as Washington has been increasing pressure on the project, including expanding sanctions to target its investors and insurance companies, among others. Earlier this month, a group of US senators threatened to impose “crushing legal and economic sanctions” on Germany’s Mukran Port, on the Baltic Sea, where the vessels helping to build the final stretch of the pipeline are stationed.
Berlin has repeatedly decried aggressive US policies, saying it rejects Washington’s extraterritorial sanctions. According to Lavrov, the US sees no boundaries when trying to achieve its political or economic goals.
“We clearly see how Washington operates in the international arena, without shying away from any methods, which is proven by the situation around the Nord Stream 2,” the Russian foreign minister said.
On Tuesday, one of the project’s financial backers, German utility Uniper, said that, while it hopes that the construction of the pipeline will go as planned, it has to take into account the worst-case scenario, in which the project may collapse due to US sanctions.
“Pressure has further intensified,” said the firm’s Chief Executive Andreas Schierenbeck. “The worst case would be, of course, if [Nord Stream 2] would never be finished and then, of course, the question is, can we get our money back or not.”
Nord Stream 2 aims to supply Europe with up to 55 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas per year, on top of the 55 bcm annually supplied through Nord Stream 1. After the project stalled at the final stages due to US sanctions at the end of 2019, Russia had to work to finish the route on its own. It plans to complete the pipeline by the end of the year or in early 2021.
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