Germany, Russia oppose US sanctions against Nord Stream 2

Foreign Ministers of Russia and Germany Sergei Lavrov and Heiko Maas expressed mutual disdain on Tuesday at US sanctions against those countries' Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project, dpa reported. "No state has the right to dictate Europe's energy policy with threats, and that will not succeed," Maas told reporters in Moscow.

Sanctions among allies are "definitely the wrong way to go," he said after meeting with Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov.

Lavrov told reporters that despite the hindrances, the pipeline would be completed in the near future.

The US has imposed sanctions in an effort to stop the construction of the pipeline, in the Baltic Sea, as the US says the pipeline will increase the EU's dependence on Russia for the commodity. Critics of the sanctions have speculated that the US is using the measures in an attempt to maintain its supplies of liquefied natural gas to the European market.

The sanctions have rattled ties between the US and its ally Germany, Europe's largest economy. Nord Stream 2 is to expand the capacity of an eponymous natural gas pipeline already in operation, supplying the commodity directly from Russia to Germany.

Three days ago, Maas had a phone call with US counterpart Mike Pompeo and expressed discontent over the threat of further US sanctions against the project.

Germany's ties with Russia have also been strained over accusations of cyberattacks and a murder last year in a Berlin park that German authorities believe could have had involvement by the Russian state.

Maas warned Russia on Tuesday that there would be further consequences if a German court rules that the Russian state was complicit in the suspected contract killing of a Georgian national. "In the event that there are corresponding findings in this judgement, it must be assumed that we will again respond," Maas said. The crime sparked a diplomatic storm between Germany and Russia, including the tit-for-tat expulsion of diplomats and threatened sanctions. "Where there is a need for clarification, it is best to seek a frank discussion," Maas said in a statement prior to his departure. It was his first trip to Russia since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. Maas said it was no secret that relations "ran into difficult waters" after the German attorney general accused the Russian government of being behind the crime - a charge that the Kremlin has denied.

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