A construction company at the center of a new natural gas pipeline between Russia and Germany suspended work on the project to avoid U.S. sanctions.
Allseas, a Swiss-Dutch offshore energy company laying pipes for the project — known as Nord Stream 2 — made its announcement on Saturday as U.S. President Donald Trump signed off on legislation allowing Washington to issue sanctions on firms involved in the €10 billion pipeline.
“Allseas will proceed, consistent with the legislation’s wind down provision, and expect guidance comprising of the necessary regulatory, technical and environmental clarifications from the relevant U.S. authority,” the company said in a statement.
Maria Zakharova, the spokeswoman for Russia’s foreign ministry, also criticized the American penalties in a post on her own Facebook page, saying that it was not up to Washington to determine if the new pipeline could be built between her country and Germany.
“A state with a public debt of $22 trillion prohibits creditworthy countries from developing the real sector of their economies,” she said, referring to the new sanctions. “Soon, they will soon demand we stop breathing immediately,” she added.
Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, has also called on Washington to steer clear of interfering in the Russian-Germany project.
Ulrike Demmer, a German government spokeswoman, wrote on Twitter that Berlin had “taken note” of the sanctions decision, adding: “The government rejects such extra-territorial sanctions. They hit German and European businesses and constitute an interference in our internal affairs.”
The White House, which has 60 days to identify companies and individuals involved in the Nord Stream 2 project on which to impose sanctions, says the new pipeline represents a security risk for Europe, an accusation that Berlin has denied.