US Senate clears Russia gas pipeline sanctions

European Union and Germany against American action

This file photo taken on November 15, 2018 shows the ship "Audacia" of the Allseas offshore service company, from where parts of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline are laid in the Baltic Sea off the coast the island of Ruegen, northeastern Germany. (AFP Photo)

Russia on Wednesday vowed to complete construction of a major gas pipeline under the Baltic Sea, despite approval by the US Senate of sanctions that have also angered European states led by Germany.

The Nord Stream 2 pipeline between Russia and Germany, a key part of Moscow’s export strategy for state energy giant Gazprom, aims to deliver Russian gas to Europe via the Baltic Sea. “We expect that this project will be completed,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters, slamming the sanctions as a “flagrant violation of international law”.

“Moscow does not like such actions, and neither do the European capitals. Berlin does not like this and neither does Paris,” he said.

The bill now goes to President Donald Trump, who is expected to sign the bill.

US lawmakers have warned the Nord Stream 2 pipeline would bring Russia billions of dollars and vastly increase President Vladimir Putin’s influence in Europe.

The EU and Germany have strongly urged the US not to impose sanctions, saying that European energy policy should be decided in Europe. The $10.6-billion pipeline is set to double shipments of natural gas to Germany.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, speaking in parliament, said Berlin opposed “extraterritorial sanctions” under any scenario and said she saw “no other possibility other than holding talks”.

MEP Manfred Weber, who heads the European People’s Party in the European Parliament, said that the United States was not behaving correctly on the matter.

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