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US threatens sanctions over Russia-Germany gas pipeline

AFP  |  Frankfurt 

The US to has warned of sanctions against firms linked to the 2 from Russia, the confirmed Sunday.

A sent to several businesses "reminds that any company operating in the Russian export pipeline sector... is in danger under CAATSA of US sanctions," an embassy told AFP.

The Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) adopted in 2017 targets Iran, and Close Donald Trump ally Grenell's letter "is not meant to be a threat, but a clear message of US policy," the said.

"The only thing that could be considered blackmail in this situation would be the Kremlin having leverage over future gas supplies," he said.

Construction has already begun on 2, set to double the capacity of an existing pipeline across the

Firms including Germany's and Uniper, Dutch-British Shell, France's and Austria's are involved in the project.

Combined with the planned across the Black Sea, 2 would do away with the need to transport to via -- robbing the country of a factor shielding it from Russian aggression, Grenell said.

The two countries are in conflict over the eastern part of and the annexation of the Crimean peninsula by in 2014. "Firms supporting the construction of the two pipelines are actively undermining the security of and Europe," Grenell wrote.

Washington's fears about the pipeline are shared by a number of eastern countries including Poland, and the last month passed a resolution condemning the construction.

But German Angela Merkel, backed by and Austria, has so far insisted it is a "purely economic project" that will ensure cheaper, more reliable

The veteran leader -- a key in Moscow-peace talks -- says Ukrainian interests will be protected as some Russian gas will still be transported via the country once Nord Stream 2 is online.

German also weighed in on the transatlantic row last week, saying "European policy should be decided in Europe, not in the

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, January 13 2019. 19:15 IST