By RFE RL
(RFE/RL) — The Kremlin has said it does not rule out delays to the completion of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline in light of the threat of new U.S. sanctions.
Sanctions are aimed at hampering the project and can fulfill their goal, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told a news conference on December 24.
“Of course, this can complicate [the implementation of the project], but at the same time, our European partners and we are interested in the project’s implementation so that it is finalized in the interests of European consumers and Russian gas suppliers,” Peskov said.
Commenting on whether the Trump administration will have time to stop the project, Peskov said: “We are not inclined to read coffee grounds here. We have our own issues to work out, and we’re working on them.”
“However, our European partners and we are interested in this project being implemented,” he said.
The Nord Stream 2 pipeline is to carry Russian-sourced gas directly to Germany, the European Union’s largest economy, via a route under the Baltic Sea similar to the existing Nord Stream line.
The United States has condemned the pipeline as threatening the security of NATO allies in the EU by increasing dependence on Russia.
Washington in December 2019 passed a bill that imposed sanctions on vessels laying the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, forcing Swiss-based Allseas to stop work on the project shortly before its completion.
Russia is now seeking to retrofit its own vessels to finish the pipeline to complete the project.
The National Defense Authorization Act, an annual bill that mainly sets the policy for the U.S. Department of Defense, includes an extension of Washington’s sanctions against the pipeline. However, outgoing U.S. President Donald Trump on December 23 vetoed the bill.
Peskov would not comment on whether Trump could still stop completion of the pipeline. Washington does want to make it as difficult as possible to implement the project, he added.
The pipeline is currently reported to be 93 percent completed.