A senior U.S. diplomat is warning that a planned gas pipeline from Russia to Germany through the Baltic Sea raises security concerns and risks triggering U.S. sanctions.
U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary Sandra Oudkirk, an energy policy expert at the State Department, said on a visit to Berlin on May 17 that the United States opposes the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline and could impose sanctions on it because of its potential to increase Russia’s “malign influence” in Europe.
“We are exerting as much persuasive power as we possibly can” to stop the project through diplomatic means first, she said, but she noted that Congress has given the government authority to impose sanctions on such Russian pipeline projects if necessary.
Her comments came one day before German Chancellor Angela Merkel is due to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Russian resort of Sochi. The two are expected to discuss the pipeline project as well as the U.S. decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal.