A deal between Germany and Russia to build a gas pipeline beneath the Baltic Sea was economically unsound and a political show of force by Russian leader Vladimir Putin and a campaign tool by German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder in upcoming elections, Polish officials said Friday. "It would appear to be more of a political problem than an economic one, a show of force on the part of President Putin and Russia," Polish Prime Minister Marek Belka said. "According to experts, building a gas pipeline under the Baltic Sea will be much costlier than building one across Poland." Polish President said told public radio that Schröder "tried to hide the obvious: he included the signature of this accord in his campaign ahead of the legislative elections of September 18." He called on opposition candidate Angela Merkel to halt the project. Russian energy giant Gazprom and German firms EON and BASF signed a deal on Thursday to build a five-billion-dollar pipeline linking Russia and Germany, at a ceremony attended by Putin and Schröder. The North European Gas Pipeline will allow the world's largest gas reserves to be piped directly to the western European market. But its route dimension to the project." The pipeline, which will run under the Baltic Sea from Vyborg near St Petersburg to Greifswald on the northeastern coast of Germany, is scheduled to go into operation in 2010.