On Friday, US President Donald Trump signed off on sanctions against firms laying pipe for the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.
Nord Stream, the Russian gas pipeline to Europe, carries a significant amount of gas to Europe. The pipeline is expected to double the delivery of gas along the original Nord Stream pipeline route. In fact, the pipeline’s biggest backer, Russian gas giant Gazprom, currently supplies about one third of Europe’s gas. However, the US has been seeking to change that situation as it continues to increase shipments of liquefied natural gas to Europe.
The Nord Stream 2 pipeline will run along the floor of the Baltic sea. This will allow Russia to bypass Ukraine, a transit point for much of Russia’s gas exports to Europe. Russia and Ukraine just agreed to a new transit deal this week. The two countries have seen bilateral relations severely weakened since Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.
Germany’s Finance Minister and Vice Chancellor Olaf Sholz has come out saying that Germany “firmly rejects” the US legislation signed off on last Friday. “Such sanctions are a serious interference in the internal affairs of Germany and Europe and their sovereignty. We firmly reject this,” Sholz told reporters on Saturday. While Germany has rejected the US sanctions, Allseas, a Swiss and Dutch company, announced on Friday that its pipe laying activities had ended. Allseas stated that it intends to “wind down provision,” but that it expects guidance from US authorities.