Pass the peace pipe: US promises Germany to leave Russian gas pipeline alone

Pass the peace pipe: US promises Germany to leave Russian gas pipeline alone
Germany’s Economy Ministry said Berlin was assured by the United States that any punitive measures introduced against Moscow wouldn’t affect the building of gas pipelines from Russia.

The ministry’s spokesperson said Germany opposed sanctions with extraterritorial effect but, in the specific case of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline linking Russia and Germany, guidelines that had been provided by Washington suggested that the construction would be unaffected, Reuters reports.

Earlier, Washington repeatedly voiced disapproval of the Nord Stream 2 project, pledging to introduce sanctions against European firms participating in the building of the gas pipeline. The project, led by Russia’s energy giant Gazprom, is being implemented in cooperation with German energy firms Wintershall and Uniper, French multinational Engie, British-Dutch oil and gas giant Royal Dutch Shell and Austrian energy company OMV.

The US administration claimed that the pipeline, aimed at delivering Russian gas to Germany, undermined Europe's energy security and stability. The White House threatened to sanction project participants using a provision in the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), approved by US Congress last summer.

The natural gas pipeline, which is of great importance for Germany along with the other EU nations, has been repeatedly opposed by smaller members of the European Union. Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania and Hungary have severely criticized the project. On Thursday, Hungarian Foreign and Foreign Trade Minister Peter Szijjarto accused the bloc of applying double standards to Nord Stream 2.    

“We are not part of the project, we can’t resist it. But I can say there are unacceptable double standards," the minister told Sputnik, stressing that the former South Stream project, which could provide diversification of gas supplies for Central Europe was “killed” by the EU. “And now we don’t see any encouragement on the part of the European Commission. I can’t imagine any excuses or reasons the Commission could bring,” he said.

Another Eastern European country opposed to the project has been Ukraine, which fears the pipeline may deprive its budget of transit fees.

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