'Consequences' for Nord Stream 2 if Russia invades Ukraine: Germany

AFP , Thursday 27 Jan 2022

Germany on Thursday vowed serious consequences for Russia if it invaded Ukraine, with sanctions expected to hit the disputed Nord Stream 2 pipeline built to bring Russian gas to Europe.

Nord Stream 2 sign
File Photo: A sign reading Nord Stream 2 Committed. Reliable. Safe. hangs above a painted map of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline from Russia to Germany at the natural gas receiving station in the Lubmin industrial estate in Lubmin, Germany, Nov 16, 2021. AP

"We are working on a strong package of sanctions" with Western allies, and it covers several aspects "including Nord Stream 2", Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock told parliament.

Nord Stream 2 is set to double supplies of cheap natural gas from Russia to Germany, which the EU's top economy says is needed to help transition away from coal and nuclear energy.

Germany's insistence over the years on the 10-billion-euro ($12 billion) gas pipeline had angered allies, who fear it would increase Europe's dependence on Russian supplies.

But with the drums of war getting louder, Germany's new Chancellor Olaf Scholz, on his first day in office, warned of consequences for the pipeline if Russia made a move on Ukraine.

It was completed in September but Germany's energy regulator BNetzA has said the approval process for the pipeline is likely to drag into the second half of 2022.

On Wednesday, Economy Minister Robert Habeck acknowledged that if sanctions had to be deployed against Russia, the German economy would also suffer.

"If there are to be sanctions, there will be none that won't hit the German economy," he told a news conference.

US President Joe Biden has said he would consider adding direct sanctions on Vladimir Putin to a raft of measures being drawn up.

A senior US official has said that new sanctions would include restrictions on exports of high-tech US equipment in the artificial intelligence, quantum computing and aerospace sectors.

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