BERLIN, August 1. /TASS/. The party leader of the Christian Democratic Union of Germany, Armin Laschet, threatened Russia with sanctions if it tries to use the Nord Stream 2 pipeline against Ukraine.
"If Russia once again commits acts of aggression aimed against Ukraine, Germany will take measures at the national level, and will press for penalties on behalf of the entire European Union," Germany’s Welt newspaper quoted the official as saying in an interview with Poland’s Rzeczpospolita.
"This is how we are going to prevent Russia from using the pipeline as a geopolitical weapon," said Laschet, who is likely to replace Angela Merkel as the chancellor of Germany.
"Ukraine’s security must be a priority for Germany’s foreign policy," he continued. "The German-US agreement [on Nord Stream 2] provides us with an instrument of holding Russia accountable for its destructive actions."
The Nord Stream 2 project envisages the completion of two lines of the gas pipeline with a total capacity of 55 billion cubic meters per year from the coast of Russia across the Baltic Sea to Germany. Work on the project was suspended in December 2019 after Swiss Allseas abandoned pipe-laying operations due to the then-looming US sanctions. In December 2020, the construction of the gas pipeline was resumed after a year's pause.
On July 28, a representative with Nord Stream 2 AG, the project’s operator, told TASS pipeline was 99% complete, and the Fortuna pipe-laying barge was working at the final section.
On July 21, the US and Germany reached an agreement on the Nord Stream 2 project. Washington admitted that sanctions would not stop its implementation, while Berlin pledged to work towards an extension of the Russian gas transit through Ukraine. US President Joe Biden said was practically complete and it was impossible to shut down its construction. The US authorities reserved the right to take action in response to Russia's use of energy as a "geopolitical weapon" in Europe and "aggression against Ukraine", according to the US Department of State.
Russia has repeatedly stressed that Nord Stream 2 is a commercial project which is being implemented jointly with European partners. Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov expressed bewilderment at the attempts of some countries to determine the gas pipeline’s fate on politically motivated circumstances. Furthermore, Moscow repeatedly stated that it has never used energy resources as a tool of pressure.