(Bloomberg) — Secretary of State Antony Blinken suggested U.S. options for stopping Nord Stream 2 are limited but that differences over the Russian gas pipeline to Germany shouldn’t burden relations between the two allies.
While “we think it’s a bad idea,” Germany “is one our closest allies and partners anywhere in the world,” Blinken said on CNN’s “State of the Union” in an interview recorded after a NATO summit in Brussels last week. “And the fact that we have a difference over this pipeline is not going to change that.”
Nord Stream 2, which is almost completed and is meant to pump Russian gas directly to a terminal in Germany, is a long-running source of friction between the two North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies. German Chancellor Angela Merkel supports the project, which the U.S. and some European Union countries oppose.
President Joe Biden’s administration is weighing additional sanctions to try to stop the pipeline, potentially including the project’s parent company Nord Stream 2 AG, people familiar with the discussions said this month.
Blinken said the U.S. has sanctioned companies involved in the project and “we will continue to do that.”
Asked whether the U.S. can stop its completion, he said: “Well, ultimately that’s up to those who are trying to build the pipeline and complete it. We just wanted to make sure that our position, our opposition to the pipeline was well understood.”
The U.S. says Nord Stream 2 increases Russia’s leverage over Europe’s energy market, and has imposed sanctions on vessels, insurers and certifiers of the project, forcing several international companies to end their participation.
“It gives Russia more of a weapon, using energy as a tool of coercion,” Blinken said.
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