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Germany regrets US plan to ban Russian vessel over Nord Stream 2 project

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A road sign directs traffic toward the Nord Stream 2 gas line landfall facility entrance in Lubmin, Germany, on September 10, 2020. (Photo by Reuters)

Germany has voiced regret at the United States’ plan to impose sanctions on a Russian vessel involved in the construction of the Russian-led Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which would increase gas exports to Germany.

A spokesman for the German Economy Ministry said on Monday that Washington had informed Germany of its plan, adding, “We’re taking note of the announcement with regret.”

German business daily Handelsblatt said earlier that the sanctions, which were issued as part of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), would target the Russian pipe-laying ship “Fortuna” and its owner, KVT-RUS.

According to Handelsblatt, the measures would go into effect on Tuesday.

Russia restarted the construction of the pipeline to Germany in December 2020. The construction work had been put on a halt for a year over Washington’s threat of sanctions.

The project, led by Russian gas giant Gazprom, is yet to see the laying of more than 100 kilometers of pipelines, though more than 90 percent of the project has reportedly been completed.

Handelsblatt cited a spokesman for the US Embassy in Berlin as saying that Washington would continue to take “all necessary and appropriate steps” to stop the Nord Stream 2 project.

Germany and its European allies have slammed the US — which seeks to end Europe’s purchases of Russian gas — for meddling in their foreign and energy policies.

A Nord Stream 2 spokesman told Handelsblatt that the European Union and governments involved in the project bore responsibility to protect firms from any sanctions.

Gazprom’s Western partners in the project include Germany’s Uniper, BASF’s Wintershall Dea, Anglo-Dutch oil major Shell, Austria’s OMV, and France’s Engie.

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