rain.png
Tuesday June 22nd, 2021 7:38AM

Pressure grows for Germany to rethink pipeline with Russia

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

BERLIN (AP) — German Chancellor Angela Merkel faced pressure on Thursday to use a joint German-Russian pipeline project as leverage in getting Russia to provide answers about the poisoning of the Kremlin's most determined critic.

After German authorities said Wednesday that tests showed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was poisoned with a Soviet-era nerve agent, Merkel called the attack a murder attempt and demanded Moscow's cooperation.

“There are very serious questions now that only the Russian government can answer, and must answer,” Merkel said.

The chancellor said Germany would work with the European Union and NATO allies on a joint response. The opposition Green party said that should include an end to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project, which would deliver Russian gas directly to Germany under the Baltic when completed.

“The apparent attempted murder by the mafia-like structures of the Kremlin can no longer just give us cause for concern, it must have real consequences,” Green parliamentary group leader Katrin Goering-Eckardt said.

The Greens have long opposed the pipeline. The project with Russia also divides opinion in other camps. Norbert Roettgen, a lawmaker in Merkel's party who chairs parliament's foreign affairs committee, said that “diplomatic rituals are no longer enough.”

“After the poisoning ... we need a strong European answer, which #Putin understands” Roettgen tweeted. “The EU should jointly decide to stop #NordStream2.”

In Moscow, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said calls to abandon Nord Stream 2 were “emotional statements... not based on facts.” He called the pipeline “an international commercial project that is in the interests of Russia, Germany and the entire European continent.”

Peskov once again brushed off allegations of Russian government’s involvement in Navalny's poisoning and urged German authorities to provide evidence to Russia.

“We haven’t received any information so far. We hope that it will happen soon and will help figure out what caused the condition the patient is in right now,” Peskov said.

Navalny fell ill on a flight to Moscow on Aug. 20 and was taken to a hospital in the Siberian city of Omsk after the plane made an emergency landing.

He was moved two days later to Berlin’s Charite hospital, where doctors last week said initial tests indicated Navalny had been poisoned.

On Wednesday, the German government said that testing by a German military laboratory showed “proof without doubt of a chemical nerve agent from the Novichok group.” British authorities identified Novichok as the poison used on former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in England.

Navalny remains in an induced coma in the hospital. Doctors said that while his condition was improving, the politician and anti-corruption investigator faces a long recovery and long-term effects cannot be ruled out.

Despite Merkel's strong reaction to the news, it was not clear whether she would consider trying to put an end to the pipeline project.

After doctors in Berlin reported last week that Navalny had likely been poisoned, Merkel rejected the idea of abandoning the project. Merkel said the pipeline should be completed and that she did not “think it is appropriate to link this business-operated project with the Navalny question.”

Merkel also rejected the idea when it was floated after previous confrontations with Moscow over incidents closer to home - like evidence the chancellor's parliamentary office had been hacked by Russia and the killing of a Georgian man in downtown Berlin that prosecutors alleged was a hit ordered by the Russian state.

Merkel also steadily resisted pressure from the United States to end the project, which Washington says will endanger European security by making Germany overly dependent on Russian gas. Nord Stream 2 is also opposed by Ukraine and Poland, which will be bypassed by the pipeline under the Baltic sea, as well as some other European nations.

In addition to the security concerns, the U.S. also wants to sell more of its own liquefied natural gas, or LNG, to Germany, which has Europe’s largest economy.

Last month, three Republican U.S. senators threatened sanctions against a German port operator involved in the project, prompting Germany's foreign minister to bring up the issue with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Switzerland-based Allseas, which operates ships laying sections of the undersea pipeline, suspended its work in December after U.S. President Donald Trump signed legislation threatening sanctions against companies linked to the project.

Despite the calls from some to bring Nord Stream 2 into the Navalny case, others have spoken against such a move. Wolfgang Kubicki, deputy leader of the pro-business Free Democratic Party, warned that Nord Stream 2 is nearing completion and both Russian and German companies are massively invested in the project.

“I'm skeptical that we should question a project of this magnitude at this stage,” he told Deutschlandfunk radio.

And Markus Soeder, a Merkel ally who leads the smallest party in Germany's governing coalition, said the construction of the pipeline was a private business decision, not the government's.

"In our view, one has nothing to do with the other," he said.

____

Daria Litvinova in Moscow contributed to this story.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP World News, AP Business, AP Business - Industries, AP Business - Utilities
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Pressure grows for Germany to rethink pipeline with Russia
German Chancellor Angela Merkel faces pressure to use a joint German-Russian pipeline project as leverage in getting Russia to provide answers about the poisoning of the Kremlin’s most determined critic
7:28AM ( 36 minutes ago )
UN chief urges Japan, others to meet goals on climate change
The U.N. chief is urging Japan and other wealthy nations to give up reliance on coal and other fossil fuels and commit to investments in green energy as they recover from the coronavirus pandemic
7:21AM ( 42 minutes ago )
Thailand reports 1st local coronavirus case in 100 days
Health officials in Thailand say a prison inmate has tested positive for the coronavirus in the country’s first confirmed locally transmitted case in 100 days
7:08AM ( 55 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Asia Today: Beijing receiving 1st int'l flights since March
Beijing’s main international airport is again receiving international flights
6:52AM ( 1 hour ago )
Hurricane Nana makes landfall in Belize with wind, rain
Hurricane Nana made landfall in Belize early Thursday, pelting a sparsely populated stretch of the Caribbean coast with heavy rain and wind before weakening to a tropical storm
6:51AM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Hong Kong's mass testing finds only few cases
Only six people in Hong Kong have tested positive for the coronavirus out of a batch of 128,000 who had undergone the mass-testing program
6:41AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP World News
The Latest: Kin of UK dementia patients want more visits
The families of dementia patients are demanding the British government ease restrictions on visiting care homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, saying they prevent people from getting the love and attention they need at the end of life
5:50AM ( 2 hours ago )
Global stock markets mostly higher after Wall Street surge
Global stock markets are mostly higher after Wall Street surged to its biggest daily gain since July despite uncertainty about the global economic outlook
4:25AM ( 3 hours ago )
The Latest: Sanofi, GlaxoSmithKline in vaccine human trials
Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline say they are beginning human trials of a potential vaccine for COVID-19 after positive results from preclinical testing
3:54AM ( 4 hours ago )
AP Business
The Latest: Beijing airport receives international flights
Beijing’s main international airport has begun again receiving international flights from a limited number of countries considered at low risk of coronavirus infection
11:35PM ( 8 hours ago )
The Latest: 'The Rock,' family test positive for coronavirus
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson says he and his family tested positive for the coronavirus
10:00PM ( 10 hours ago )
The Latest: COVID-19 more prevalent in poor New Mexico areas
A top state health official is warning that COVID-19 infections are far more prevalent in low-income areas of the New Mexico, potentially straining Medicaid health care
8:20PM ( 11 hours ago )
AP Business - Industries
Mercedes-Benz unveils new flagship S-Class sedan
Daimler AG is showing off the new S-Class from its Mercedes-Benz luxury brand
12:04PM ( 19 hours ago )
Drilling, mines, other projects hastened by Trump order
Documents provided to The Associated Press show the Trump administration is seeking to fast track environmental reviews of dozens of major energy and infrastructure projects during the COVID-19 pandemic
11:34AM ( 20 hours ago )
The Latest: Australian hot spot extends state of emergency
Australia’s hot spot Victoria state has extended its state of emergency for another six months as its weekly average of new COVID-19 infections dipped to 95
8:46PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Business - Utilities
UN chief urges Japan, others to meet goals on climate change
The U.N. chief is urging Japan and other wealthy nations to give up reliance on coal and other fossil fuels and commit to investments in green energy as they recover from the coronavirus pandemic
7:21AM ( 43 minutes ago )
Thailand reports 1st local coronavirus case in 100 days
Health officials in Thailand say a prison inmate has tested positive for the coronavirus in the country’s first confirmed locally transmitted case in 100 days
7:08AM ( 56 minutes ago )
Belarus leader reshuffles lieutenants to tighten control
Belarus’ authoritarian leader has reshuffled his top lieutenants in an apparent attempt to strengthen his rule amid weeks of protests pushing for his resignation after a vote the opposition sees as rigged
7:08AM ( 56 minutes ago )
EU unveils plan to secure raw materials, cut dependency
The European Union has unveiled a plan to secure access to the raw materials used in smart phones, TVs and lights
7:03AM ( 1 hour ago )
Many more likely sought jobless aid as layoffs remain high
The U.S. government will provide its latest picture Thursday of the layoffs that have remained elevated at a weekly pace of around 1 million since the pandemic erupted nearly six months ago even as some sectors of the economy have been rebounding
6:59AM ( 1 hour ago )