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US says planned Russian pipeline would threaten European energy security

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Reuters are reporting that the the US sees the planned Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline between Russia and Germany as a threat to Europe’s energy security.

Poland, Ukraine and Baltic states fear the pipeline would increase Europe’s dependence on Russian gas and provide the Kremlin with billions of dollars of additional revenue to finance a further military build-up on European Union’s borders.

The US has already sanctioned Russian companies over Moscow’s involvement in the Ukraine crisis, and foreign companies investing in or helping Russian energy exploration.

Poland, an EU member since 2004, sees Russia as its biggest potential threat, especially since Moscow annexed the Crimean peninsula from neighbouring Ukraine in 2014.

Nordic nations have already voiced security concerns over the pipeline being laid near their shores under the Baltic.

But Germany and Austria have focused more on the commercial benefits of having more cheap gas, arguing there could be little harm from an additional pipe.

German energy groups Uniper and Wintershall, Austria’s OMV, Anglo-Dutch group Shell and France’s Engie have invested in the 1225 km pipeline, which is to pump more Russian gas via the Baltic Sea.

Poland, which spent four decades under Soviet domination after World War Two, still imports Russian gas to meet about two-thirds of its consumption.

But it has invested in a LNG terminal on the Baltic coast to diversify supplies and plans to build a gas link to Norway.

Poland, whose main trade partner is Germany but main security ally Washington, signed in November a long-term deal to buy LNG from the US.

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