Russia to complete Nord Stream 2 pipeline despite US sanctions: Kremlin

MOSCOW (AFP) – Russia expects to complete construction of the major Nord Stream 2 pipeline under the Baltic Sea despite approval by the United States (US) Senate of sanctions against companies working on the project, the Kremlin said yesterday.

The pipeline between Russia and Germany, a key part of Moscow’s export strategy for state energy giant Gazprom, aims to deliver Russian gas to Europe via the Baltic.

“We expect that this project will be completed,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters, slamming the sanctions as a “flagrant violation of international law”.

“Moscow does not like such actions, and neither do the European capitals. Berlin does not like this and neither does Paris,” he said, suggesting that sanctions would only lead to higher gas prices for European consumers.

The sanctions, which were inserted into Washington’s huge annual defence spending bill, easily passed both the US Senate and House of Representatives.

The bill now goes to US President Donald Trump, who is widely expected to sign the legislation.

US lawmakers have warned the Nord Stream 2 pipeline would bring Russia billions of dollars and vastly increase President Vladimir Putin’s influence in Europe at a time of heightened tensions between Moscow and the West.