U.S. threatens to punish Russia & Germany if they continue playing with gas

The logo of the Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline project is seen on a board at the SPIEF 2017 in St. Petersburg Russia

According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, the USA president threatened Angela Merkel a month ago with the possibility of starting a new trade war in the event that Berlin would not consider abandoning the project.

As Washington has declared that it might introduce sanctions against the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, authorities in Berlin have said that such a move won't guarantee the growth of imports of liquefied gas from the US.

Sandra Oudkirk, deputy assistant secretary in the State Department, said that the U.S. was strongly opposed to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

She has specified that this means that any pipeline construction project in the world could potentially be under sanctions. "We would be delighted if the project did not take place".

The US push came a day before Chancellor Angela Merkel travels to Sochi to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin for talks that will touch on Nord Stream 2, as well as the US decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said today (10 April) that plans for a controversial second underwater pipeline to bring gas from Russian Federation could not go forward without Ukrainian involvement in overland transit. It is due to go online at the end of next year.

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"The new project would permit new technologies to be placed along the pipeline route, and that is a threat", she said.

The United States also opposes the Turkish Stream offshore pipeline that would bring Russian gas via the Black Sea to Turkey for the same reasons, she said.

Until now, however, Germany does not seem to succumb to the pressures and opposes the other side with the slogan "America First", arguing that, in this case, Europe should also look at its own interest, especially when Russian gas is cheaper than the American shale gas.

"This pipeline can't be used to blackmail or negatively affect any country", he said.

The US believes that Moscow will be able to exert greater influence over Berlin as well as cut about $1 billion a year in transit fees paid to Ukraine for piping natural gas to Europe, and that dependence on the pipeline will weaken the impact of western sanctions on Moscow.

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