U.S. House Of Representatives Condemns Russia's Nord Stream 2 Pipeline
By RFE/RL December 12, 2018
The U.S. House of Representatives has condemned the Russian-backed Nord Stream 2 natural-gas pipeline, saying the undersea project will boost Russian control over Europe's energy supplies.
The measure, passed on December 11 by the lower house of Congress, was a symbolic resolution. But it was the latest effort by U.S. authorities to try and block the $11 billion project.
According to the bipartisan resolution, the pipeline is a "drastic step backwards for European energy security and United States interests," and it called for European governments to reject the project.
The measure also urged President Donald Trump to "use all available means to support European energy security."
Nord Stream 2 would run under the Baltic Sea, bringing Russian gas directly to Western Europe and bypassing the existing networks running through Ukraine.
Washington has stepped up efforts to try and thwart the project.
A day earlier, Francis Fannon, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for energy resources, warned that Russia wanted to increase leverage over Europe, and its grip over Ukraine, using Nord Stream 2.
Leaders of some of the largest industries in Germany and elsewhere have backed the pipeline as a way to diversify gas supplies.
Germany's foreign minister has said Berlin will not withdraw its political support for it and Chancellor Angela Merkel has said she secured a pledge from Russian President Vladimir Putin allowing gas shipments across Ukraine's territory.
The project, however, has been opposed both by Trump and his predecessor, Barack Obama, as a tool for Russia to consolidate its sway over Europe.
Putin has said that Nord Stream 2 is purely economic and not directed against other countries.
Russian gas could continue to go through Ukraine if the pipeline is completed, he has said.
Ukraine, which has been in conflict with Russia since Moscow annexed the Crimea Peninsula in 2014, has warned that Moscow would use the pipeline as a political weapon.
Ukraine also stands to lose out on billions of dollars in transit fees if Russian gas bypasses it.
With reporting by Bloomberg
Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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