Companies involved in the construction of the Russian-led Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline they could face sanctions if they stick to the project, the U.S. ambassador to Germany has warned said on Sunday, according to Reuters.
U.S. Ambassador Richard Grenell addressed the issue in a letter sent to several companies, the U.S. Embassy said.
“The letter reminds that any company operating in the Russian energy export pipeline sector is in danger under CAATSA of U.S. sanctions,” the embassy spokesman said, adding that other European states also opposed the planned pipeline.
The pipeline, which would carry gas straight to Germany under the Baltic Sea, is also seen critical by other European countries as it would deprive Ukraine of lucrative gas transit fees which could make Kiev more vulnerable in the future.
Russian gas giant Gazprom is implementing the project jointly with its Western partners – Uniper, Wintershall, Engie, Austria’s OMV and Anglo-Dutch group Shell.
Germany and Russia have been at odds since Moscow annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014. But they have a common interest in the Nord Stream 2 project, which is expected to double the capacity of the existing Nord Stream 1 route.
Last year, U.S. President Donald Trump accused Germany of being a “captive” of Moscow due to its reliance on Russian energy and urged it to halt work on the $11 billion gas pipeline.
Germany and other European allies accuse Washington of using its Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) to meddle in their foreign and energy policies due to its extraterritorial effect. German newspaper Bild am Sonntag, which was first to report on the letter, said that Grenell was trying to blackmail German companies with the letter.