Merkel ‘under pressure’ to put Nord Stream 2 on hold says expert
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The Nord Stream 2 is a new export gas pipeline running from Russia to Europe across the Baltic Sea. Development was paused due to opposition from the Trump administration and sanctions on companies as the relationship between Washington and Moscow deteriorated.
Now, Kremlin spokesperson, Dimitry Peskov, warned US President Joe Biden the development does not concern Washington.
Mr Peskov said: “This project concerns the energy security of the European continent, especially with the turbulence caused by climate change, and so on.
“It would make sense for our American partners to be less interested in Nord Stream 2 and more interested in Texas’ heat and energy supply.”
His comments come after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the pipeline “would enable the Putin regime to further weaponise Russia’s energy resources to exert political pressure throughout Europe”.
Mr Blinken said he was “determined” to stop Nord Stream 2’s completion, which countries like Germany and France will rely on for natural gas supplies from Russia.
White House spokesperson Jen Psaki said last month Mr Biden said the Nord Stream 2 pipeline is “bad deal for Europe”.
She said: “We continue to believe, the president continues to believe, that Nord Stream 2 is a bad deal for Europe.”
Ms Psaki added the administration “will be reviewing” the restrictions included in the defence policy legislation.
The £7billion pipeline, which is 90 percent complete, would double the capacity of the existing Nord Stream duct to deliver gas from Russia to Europe via Germany under the Baltic Sea.
The pipeline faced a crisis last year following the poisoning of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel faced pressure to scrap the development with Russia.
Norbert Roettgen, head of Germany’s parliamentary foreign affairs committee, told Deutchlandfunk radio today: “There must be a European response.
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“We must pursue hard politics, we must respond with the only language [Vladimir] Putin understands – that is gas sales.”
Wolfgang Ischinger, chairman of the Munich Security Conference and a former ambassador to Washington, backed a response from the EU and NATO.
He said: “If we want to send a clear message to Moscow with our partners, then economic relations must be on the agenda and that means the Nord Stream 2 project must not be left out.
“We can’t put up a wall between the West and Russia, that would be a step too far, but there is a middle ground, something between diplomatic gestures and total boycott.”
Mr Biden has been a vocal critic of Vladimir Putin’s regime in Russia and said the US will not roll over for Moscow anymore.
During his call with Mr Putin last month, Mr Biden brought up subjects such as election interference and the poisoning of Mr Navalny.
Mr Biden said: “I made it clear to President Putin in a manner very different from my predecessor, that the days the United States rolling over in the face of Russia’s aggressive actions, interfering with our elections, cyber-attacks, poisoning citizens are over.”
He said his government would “not hesitate to raise the cost on Russia and defend our vital interests” and be “more effective in dealing with Russia when we work in coalition and coordination with other like-minded partners”.
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