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Russia says US must not pressure anyone over certification of Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline

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)

Russia has denounced the United States for its attempts to impede the implementation of the Russian Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, stressing that Washington must not put pressure on anyone over the certification of the project.

“It is very important, of course, that the United States of America does not put pressure on anyone in connection with the ongoing implementation and certification of this project,” said Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov in a press conference on Monday.

The $11 billion Nord Stream 2 (NS2) is an international project for the construction of a gas pipeline that is set to bring Russian gas to Germany under the Baltic Sea bypassing transit states such as Ukraine, Belarus, Poland, and other Eastern European states.

The 745-mile-long pipeline, which is set to double Moscow's annual gas export capacity in the Baltic to 110 billion cubic meters, traverses the economic zones and territorial waters of five countries, namely Russia, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, and Germany.

The pipeline was finally completed in September but was awaiting the approval process to be completed before it could go online.

The NS2 is now awaiting clearance from the German Federal Network Agency (BNetzA) before Russia can commence pumping gas through it.

The US has long opposed the NS2, claiming that it will make Europe too reliant on Russian gas.

Germany has urged members of the US Congress not to sanction the project as doing so would “weaken” US credibility and “ultimately damage transatlantic unity.”

Washington has already waived sanctions on the NS2 operator as part of a compromise with Berlin back in July. Last week, however, the White House imposed further sanctions targeting Transadria Ltd., a Cyprus-based entity believed to be a Russian shell company.

The fresh sanctions worried Germany and angered Russia. However, the US claims that the new sanctions have not targeted the main operators of the NS2.

On Sunday, the German government said that it was continuing to work closely with Washington on implementing a joint declaration on the project.

Work on the project was suspended in December 2019 after a Swiss company 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.

The project has been a focal point of tensions between Moscow and Washington. Russia says the project could provide relief to the European gas market, which has been grappling with tight supplies and soaring prices.

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