July 11, 2018 / 9:17 PM / 2 months ago

U.S. warns of sanctions risk for firms invested in Russian pipeline

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Washington repeated a warning on Wednesday to Western firms invested in Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline to Germany that they were at risk of sanctions, and said Moscow was using the project to divide Europe.

“We have been clear that firms working in the Russian energy export pipeline sector are engaging in a line of business that carries sanctions risk,” a spokesman for the U.S. State Department told Reuters.

“We believe it (the pipeline) would undermine Europe’s overall energy security and stability by providing Russia another tool for the political coercion of European countries, especially Ukraine. Russia understands that this project is dividing Europe, and is using that to its advantage.”

U.S. President Donald Trump accused Germany on Wednesday of being a “captive” of Russia due to its energy reliance and its support for the plan to double capacity of the Nord Stream pipeline under the Baltic Sea to Germany, bypassing traditional routes through Ukraine.

Five Western firms have invested in Nord Stream 2 - Wintershall (BASFn.DE) and Uniper (UN01.DE) of Germany, Austria’s OMV (OMVV.VI), Anglo-Dutch Shell (RDSa.L), and France’s Engie (ENGIE.PA).

Reporting by David Brunnstrom; Writing by Alissa de Carbonnel; Editing by Catherine Evans

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