Pipe-laying work has resumed on Russia's massive Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, the project's consortium said Saturday, following preparatory work in Danish waters.
Nord Stream 2 is a 10-billion-euro ($11-billion) pipeline that will run beneath the Baltic Sea and is set to double Russian natural-gas shipments to Germany, Europe's largest economy.
The United States and several European countries have criticised the project, saying it will increase German and EU dependence on Russia for critical gas supplies.
The Russian pipe-laying vessel Fortuna "has successfully completed sea tests and, today, started laying pipes in the waters of Denmark", the company said in a short statement.
"All works are performed in line with the relevant permits," it added
Work on the massive project had resumed in German waters in December after being suspended for nearly a year because of the threat of US sanctions.
Danish authorities then authorised Nord Stream to carry out works in its waters from January 15.
The project has long been in the crosshairs of the United States, particularly by the former Trump administration which promoted US gas and openly criticised European countries for their reliance on energy from Russia.
Poland, Ukraine and the Baltic states are also fiercely opposed to the pipeline, fearing it will increase Europe's reliance on Russian energy, which Moscow could then use to exert political pressure.
France on Monday urged Germany to scrap the pipeline in protest over the detention in Moscow of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, but the plea fell on deaf ears in Berlin.
On Friday German Chancellor Angela Merkel acknowledged that the pipeline was a "controversial project", but said that "solutions can be found together" on the issue.
The pipeline is almost complete, with most of the remaining pipe-laying work to be done in the waters off Denmark.