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22 Sep, 2020 21:04

Washington using Navalny situation as excuse to block Russian-German Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, Russian intelligence chief says

Washington using Navalny situation as excuse to block Russian-German Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, Russian intelligence chief says

The US is working hard to keep the spotlight on the case of Alexey Navalny as a way to help block construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, according to Sergey Naryshkin, head of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (the SVR).

Naryshkin believes that Washington wants to block Nord Stream 2 so it can prevent Moscow from efficiently providing gas to the continent, thereby increasing demand for American liquefied natural gas (LNG) in other European states. As things stand, Russia delivers a large percentage of the continent’s gas, and the pipeline would connect the country’s gas supply directly to Germany, under the Baltic Sea. The project is more than 90 percent complete.

“It is extremely important for Washington to end this project,” Naryshkin said, explaining that the alleged poisoning of opposition figure Navalny has become an excuse to stop Nord Stream 2’s construction.

The United States has long been opposed to the project, somewhat incredibly claiming that it would “undermine Europe’s overall energy security and stability,” but many believe that Washington's true motivations are economic.

Discussion about ending Nord Stream 2 resumed last month, when EU politicians debated further sanctions, following the suspected poisoning of Navalny. Naryshkin believes that the US is using the accusations of poisoning as a pretext to sell more LNG to Europe. On Thursday, MEPs demanded that Germany cancel construction of the pipeline.

Despite US pressure, Naryshkin has expressed hope that the EU will rely on common sense before the “cold winter” and likened the proposed halting of Nord Stream 2 to “cutting off the nose to spite the face.”

Late last month, Russian anti-corruption activist Navalny was hospitalized in the Siberian city of Omsk after he became ill on a flight from Tomsk to Moscow. Two days later, after a request from his family and associates, he was flown to Berlin for treatment at that city’s Charité clinic. Following tests, German authorities announced that Navalny was poisoned with a substance from the Novichok group of nerve agents. After the diagnosis, Heiko Maas, the German Foreign Minister, told Berlin tabloid Bild that he hopes “the Russians don't force [the Germans] to change [their] stance on Nord Stream 2.”

Also on rt.com US aims for gas domination in Europe, Ukrainian MP says. Nord Stream 2 is 1st target, then existing European pipeline system

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