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German foreign minister warns against halting Nord Stream 2 

Energy Trade

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German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has rejected calls for the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project to be halted amid increased tensions between Russia and Ukraine, warning that such action could lead to a further escalation.

Speaking on German television late Wednesday, Maas said, as quoted by S&P Global Platts,: "I am skeptical that halting the Nord Stream 2 project would lead to a de-escalation by Moscow -- in fact it could have the opposite effect."

Germany has continued to back the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which is now 95% complete, despite opposition from the United States and countries in Eastern Europe.

"The position of the German government has always been clear," Maas said.

His comments come after German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer on Wednesday said a moratorium on the completion of the pipeline could be considered in light of recent Russian behavior. Tensions have been growing in recent days over the potential for military escalation be tween Russia and Ukraine after Moscow began amassing troops near the border with Ukraine. Calls for the project to be halted intensified last August following the poisoning of Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny.

Russia, meanwhile, remains confident that Nord Stream 2 will be completed in time to begin flowing gas by the end of this summer. Approximately 121 km (75 mile) remain to be laid -- 93 km in Danish waters and 28 km in German waters. Nord Stream 2 would allow for an additional 55 billion cubic metre per year of Russian gas to reach Germany on top of the first 55 Bcm/year Nord Stream pipeline. 

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