Russia says Trump’s pipeline comments meant to bully Europe into buying US energy supplies
Moscow has criticized US President Donald Trump for his comments on a major pipeline project that will double the amount of gas transferred from Russia to Germany, saying the comments are meant to dissuade the country’s gas customers and force them to buy American energy supplies instead.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Thursday that Trump’s description of Germany a “captive” of Russia due to its energy reliance was part of Washington’s campaign to bully Europe into buying American energy supplies.
“As for Germany’s dependence (on Russia) as a major gas buyer we cannot agree with this premise,” Peskov said, adding, “Supplies of pipeline gas do not lead to dependence of one country on another but to complete mutual dependence. That is a guarantee of stability and future development.”
Trump said at a NATO summit in Brussels on Wednesday that Germany’s support for the $11-billion Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which will bypass Ukraine to transfer Russia’s gas to Germany through the Baltic Sea, showed that Berlin had become “a captive to Russia.”
He said Germany’s support for the project came while it has repeatedly failed to meet US and other allies’ expectations for increasing its share of military spending in NATO.
The US has opposed the Nord Stream 2 project, arguing it will increase Russia’s political sway in Europe. Washington has even indicated recently that firms investing in the project could be slapped with US sanctions.
Peskov, however, said Washington’s criticism of the Nord Stream 2 project had no political justification and was purely rooted in economic interests of the United States.
“We consider that it’s a question of economic competition and that ... the buyers must take their own decision,” said Peskov, adding that Moscow viewed the US criticism of the project as “unfair competition” meant to force the Europeans to buy the US liquefied natural gas (LNG), which Peskov said would be much costlier than Russia’s natural gas.
The Kremlin said Trump’s remarks on the German-Russia gas project were unlikely to have an impact on a Monday meeting between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland.