Shortly before the completion of Nord Stream 2, the dispute over the controversial Baltic Sea pipeline worsened again in terms of foreign policy. Russia has sharply criticized the sanctions that have now been approved by the US Senate. The punitive measures violate international law and are an example of unfair competition, said Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskow.
From the point of view of Russia, the sanctions can no longer stop the billion dollar project. "We expect the project to be completed," said Peskow on Wednesday, according to the Interfax agency. The sanctions are an ideal example of "unscrupulous competition" with the aim of offering Europe a more expensive product. This means liquid gas from the USA, which costs more than Russian pipeline gas.
After the House of Representatives, the Senate had also approved US sanctions against companies. Now President Donald Trump has to sign the law, which is considered safe.
"Such actions do not please Moscow or the European capitals; they do not like Berlin or Paris," said Peskow. He accused the US of violating international law and "expanding its artificial dominance to the European market".
Merkel rejects US sanctions
Meanwhile, Chancellor Angela Merkel has criticized the US Congress's sanction resolution. "I see no other option than to have a conversation, but very decisive talks that we do not approve of these sanctions," said Merkel in the questioning session of the Bundestag. She made it clear: "We are against extraterritorial sanctions."
In the pipeline, which is more than 2100 kilometers long, pipes are still missing over a distance of around 300 kilometers. They are to be relocated not far from the Danish island of Bornholm. In Denmark, criticism of the project has been great until recently: there have been several attempts to prevent the efforts by law. It was argued with overriding national interests - and approval was only given at the end of October.
The Swiss-Dutch company "Allseas" is now to lay the last pipes that run across the Danish continental shelf through the Baltic Sea. US sanctions could also apply against the company if the project is not completed within a transition period of 30 days after the relevant law comes into force.
Trump, on the other hand, wants more US gas to be sold to Europe. Mecklenburg-West Pomerania's Prime Minister Manuela Schwesig (SPD) said that US sanctions are "aimed solely at bringing American fracking gas onto the market".
The United States and some Eastern European and Baltic countries also fear that Nord Stream 2's dependency on Central Europe will increase. The German government is nevertheless behind the project and hopes to be supplied with inexpensive gas - 55 billion cubic meters of natural gas should flow through the pipes to Germany every year.
The sanctions could at least delay the completion of the project. In addition, further US measures could also lead to gas shortages in Germany. Nord Stream 2 AG has so far not commented on the effects on the international project.
Nord Stream 2 is the second Baltic Sea pipeline between Russia and Germany. Behind it is the Russian state-owned company Gazprom, which is to finance half of the planned total costs of EUR 9.5 billion. The other half are financed by five European energy companies, including Wintershall-Dea, OMV, Royal Dutch Shell and the French company Engie.