US sanctions can force Western companies to withdraw from the Nord Stream 2 project, but this will not prevent Russia from completing the construction of the gas pipeline, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas claims.
Maas asserted that the construction of the disputed Nord Stream 2 from Russia to Germany will not be stopped even by the US sanctions. "No one can disrupt this project. US sanctions can lead to the withdrawal of Western companies from it, including German concerns. This, however, will not lead to the closure of the project. In this case, Russia will implement it on its own, and then no one will have an impact on maintaining gas transit through Ukraine,” he said at the discussion panel "Politik-Talk" in Berlin.
Critics of Nord Stream 2 fear that after the launch of the new gas pipeline, Russia will stop supplying gas through Ukraine, depriving the country of transit charges revenue. Currently, the Ukrainian transit is being negotiated with the participation of the EU. "These negotiations, however, will be meaningless if the USA imposes sanctions and Russians complete the construction of the gas pipeline themselves,” Maas warned.
The construction of the 1,200-km-long Nord Stream 2 has been going for quite some time now. Almost a third of the gas pipeline has already been laid, although the USA and a number of Eastern European countries have not abandoned their attempts to stop this project.
US Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell sent letters to German companies participating in the construction of the gas pipeline, warning that Washington may impose sanctions on them. This demarche caused indignation in German political circles.
Maas noted that it is not his business to tell Ambassadors what they can do, but he added that the USA should decide for itself if such profiling style is in its interests.