US warns German companies of possible sanctions over Nord Stream 2
The United States has warned German companies involved in the Russian-led Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline they could face sanctions, reports news agency Reuters. US Ambassador Richard Grenell sent a letter to several companies saying that “any company operating in the Russian energy export pipeline sector is in danger under CAATSA [Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act] of US sanctions,” a US embassy spokesperson told Reuters. German politicians and diplomats criticised Grenell's "direct threats" to German companies, saying he "did not follow common diplomatic practice".
The natural gas pipeline Nord Stream 2, currently under construction under the Baltic Sea, has been the subject of heated debate for years. The project, scheduled for completion in late 2019, would allow additional Russian gas to flow directly to Germany. Proponents argue the pipeline is a commercial investment key to Europe's supply security, while opponents object to Nord Stream 2 on environmental, geopolitical and security grounds.