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Construction resumes on Nord Stream 2

February 6, 2021

The Russian-led pipeline in the Baltic Sea has almost been completed, despite US sanctions and opposition from some EU member states. The controversial project will double the amount of natural gas exported to Germany.

Pipelines ready to be laid for Nord Stream 2
Several countries have called for Germany to drop the project after the imprisonment of Kremlin critic Alexei NavalnyImage: Stefan Sauer/dpa/picture alliance

Russia's vessel Fortuna has resumed laying pipes for the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline in Danish waters, the project consortium said on Saturday.

The pipe-laying vessel had suspended construction of the almost completed pipeline between Russia and Germany due to US sanctions. 

"All works are performed in line with the relevant permits. We will provide further information about the construction works and further planning in due time," the consortium said. 

What is Nord Stream 2? 

The controversial project will double the amount of Russian natural gas export to Germany through the Baltic Sea pipeline. 

A map showing the pipeline stream from Germany to Russia.

Initially stopped in 2019, Fortuna has laid 2.6 kilometers (1.6 mile) of the pipeline in the German exclusive economic zone, bringing the total length of pipeline to more than 2,300 kilometers, according to the dpa press agency.

The remaining construction includes 120 kilometers in Danish waters and another 30 kilometers in German waters.   

What is the controversy over Nord Stream 2?

US President Joe Biden has described the pipeline as a "bad deal for Europe," and his administration is expected to impose further sanctions on the pipeline operating companies

Among the US concerns is Russia gaining leverage over the EU. The US also fears the pipeline's effect on Ukraine's transit fees, which Kyiv typically receives to transport gas from Russia to Europe. Poland, Ukraine and the Baltic states also fear increasing Russian influence in Europe.

Some European countries have also criticized the pipeline, as the EU considers imposing sanctions on Russia over the imprisonment of opposition figure Alexei Navalny.

On Monday, France urged Germany to cancel the project, citing concerns over the Navalny situation.  

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Friday that Navalny's imprisonment would not affect the gas pipeline project. "We reserve the right to continue the sanctions [over Navalny's imprisonment]," she said.   

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz also supported the German stance, describing Nord Stream 2 as a "European project." 

"Anyone who believes that the new gas pipeline would only be in Russia's interest is mistaken," Kurz told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper on Saturday.

fb/shs (dpa, Reuters)