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Blinken says Nordstream 2 is Russian project that undermines Ukraine

Published 06/23/2021, 06:38 AM
Updated 06/23/2021, 07:29 AM
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A road sign directs traffic towards the Nord Stream 2 gas line landfall facility entrance in Lubmin, Germany, September 10, 2020.   REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke//File Photo

BERLIN (Reuters) -U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday described the Nordstream 2 gas pipeline as a Russian geopolitical project that undermines the security of Ukraine, adding the United States wants to ensure Russia does not use energy as a coercive tool against any European state.

Speaking at a joint press conference in Berlin after meeting German counterpart Heiko Maas, Blinken said Washington was determined to see if it can make something positive out of a difficult situation and strengthen Europe's energy security.

"Our goal remains to ensure that Russia cannot use energy as a coercive tool as a weapon against Ukraine, or anyone else in Europe," Blinken said.

Washington is against the Nordstream 2 pipeline which would double Russian gas exports across the Baltic Sea.

The project, now about 95% complete, would help Russia curtail gas exports via Ukraine, depriving Kyiv of lucrative transit fees.

Germany, a key NATO ally with which Democratic President Joe Biden has sought to repair relations frayed during the administration of former Republican President Donald Trump, wants to complete the $11 billion pipeline.

A U.S. State Department report sent to Congress in May concluded that Nord Stream 2 AG - the company behind the pipeline to Germany - and its CEO, Matthias Warnig, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, engaged in sanctionable activity.

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A road sign directs traffic towards the Nord Stream 2 gas line landfall facility entrance in Lubmin, Germany, September 10, 2020.   REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke//File Photo

But Blinken waived those sanctions, saying that this was in the U.S. national interest.

Maas said Berlin wanted a solution that is acceptable for both sides. "We know the expectations in Washington. It is extremely important for us to achieve results that Washington can also support."

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