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27 Dec, 2019 21:26

Obey immediately or face sanctions: Washington sets 30-day deadline for European contractors to abandon Nord Stream 2 project

Obey immediately or face sanctions: Washington sets 30-day deadline for European contractors to abandon Nord Stream 2 project

The US State Department has issued an ultimatum to European companies taking part in the construction of the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline from Russia to Germany, demanding they cease all work by January 20.

In a document called ‘fact sheet’ on the US opposition to Nord Stream 2, the State Department demands that all related parties “immediately cease construction-related activity” in a “good-faith wind-down,” adding that those who lack this good faith would face sanctions.

Further down in the text, it clarifies that the contractors have 30 days to comply with America’s demands, warning that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will identify and reveal all “violators” to the US Congress in about two months.

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Apart from threats of sanctions against those who defy Washington and cooperate with Russia on the gas pipeline project, the document repeats arguments about Nord Stream 2 allegedly harming Ukraine’s interests and threatening European energy security. “The United States’ intention is to stop construction of Nord Stream 2,” it bluntly states.

The threats seem to have worked on Swiss-Dutch construction company Allseas, which halted work on the last section of the pipe. On Friday, Russian Minister of Energy Alexander Novak said that the pipeline would still be launched by the end of 2020, as Russia has the equipment needed to complete construction.

Objections to the pipeline from Washington and its European client states have been mainly political in nature, dealing with the potential loss of leverage more than anything else. The US has even called Germany a “hostage” because of its “increasing dependency” on Russian gas, while offering its own liquefied natural gas – officially described as “molecules of freedom” – as an alternative, though at a much higher price. Ukraine and Poland say the Nord Stream 2 will rob them of billions of dollars in transit fees which they’ve been collecting from Russia over the years.

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