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Germany and the United States have warned that if Russia invades Ukraine, they will target a critical Russia’s gas pipelines.

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If Russia attacks, the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, according to a US State Department spokesman, “will not move forward.”

The contentious energy project is intended to double gas flow and runs directly from Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea.

It avoids Ukraine, which is reliant on existing pipelines for revenue and is under attack from Russian forces.

Tens of thousands of Russian troops have gathered on Ukraine’s borders in recent weeks, raising fears of an invasion despite Russian denials.

The US rejected Russia’s key demand to prevent Ukraine from joining the Nato military alliance on Wednesday while offering Moscow a “serious diplomatic path forward.”

The 1,225km (760 mile) pipeline took five years to build and cost approximately $11 billion (£8 billion).

However, it has not yet begun operations because regulators said in November that it does not comply with German law and suspended its approval.

The US State Department spokesman Ned Price stated that his country would work with Germany to ensure that the project did not proceed if Russia invaded.

“I want to be clear: if Russia invades Ukraine in any way, Nord Stream 2 will not proceed,” he said, adding that he was “not going to get into the specifics” of how it would be stopped.

Later, Germany’s foreign minister, Annalena Baerbock, told the German parliament that Western allies are “working on a strong package of sanctions” covering aspects “including Nord Stream 2,” threatening Russia with serious consequences if it attacks.

It came after German Ambassador to the US Emily Haber tweeted that if Russia violated “Ukraine’s sovereignty,” “nothing will be off the table, including Nord Stream 2.”

Major European corporations have made significant investments in Nord Stream 2, which is led by former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder.

The German government currently believes that “natural gas will continue to make a significant contribution to energy supply in Germany over the coming decades,” citing the fact that it is “more climate-friendly than other fossil fuels.”

However, many groups are opposed to Nord Stream 2.

Environmentalists are concerned about how it will fit in with German efforts to reduce emissions and combat man-made climate change, while politicians both at home and abroad are concerned that it will increase Europe’s reliance on Russian energy – roughly half of the EU’s gas currently comes from Russia.

Ukraine’s President, Volodymyr Zelensky, has previously called the pipeline a “dangerous geopolitical weapon.”

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His country is currently facing 100,000 Russian troops stationed on its borders, and there are growing fears that President Putin will launch an attack.

Russia had issued a written statement outlining its concerns about NATO expansion and related security issues.

Among them was a demand that Nato rules out the possibility of Ukraine and others joining the alliance in the future.

On Wednesday, the United States and NATO issued a formal response to Russia’s demands for a resolution to the Ukraine crisis.

Although it will not be made public, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated that the document outlined their “core principles,” including Ukraine’s sovereignty and the right to choose whether or not to join security alliances such as Nato.

Sergei Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister, stated that the formal response does not address Russia’s “main concern” about the alliance’s expansion.

He did, however, say that it “gives hope for the beginning of a serious conversation” on secondary issues and that President Putin will decide how to respond.

Meanwhile, Dmitry Peskov, the president’s spokesman, told reporters that Russia would not “rush into assessments,” adding that it would take “time to analyze” the response.

 

 

 

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