Germany Threatens to Block Nord Stream 2 over Navalny Poisoning
German foreign minister Heiko Maas has demanded answers from Moscow over the poisoning of Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny, warning that it may rethink its support for the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline if the Kremlin does not comply.
"I hope the Russians won't force us to change our position regarding the Nord Stream 2," Maas told German newspaper Bild am Sonntag. "If there won't be contributions from the Russian side regarding the investigation in the coming days, we will have to consult with our partners."
Germany will also discuss a "response" with its allies which could involve "targeted" sanctions, he said.
Pressure has been building on Berlin to withdraw its support for Nord Stream 2 since Navalny was poisoned on August 20 on board a plane to Moscow. He is currently being treated in a German hospital.
Only 6% of Nord Stream 2's offshore section is left to complete, but international contractors halted work on the project in December after the US imposed sanctions. Russia is preparing to use its own pipelaying vessels to finish the job. Russia says the pipeline will be ready to operate in late 2020 or early 2021 – a year behind schedule. At peak capacity it will flow 55bn m3/yr of Russian gas to northern Germany.