German Economic Affairs Minister Robert Habeck warned in an interview published on Saturday of “serious consequences” for the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline connecting Russia to Germany if Moscow attacks Ukraine.
The Baltic Sea gas pipeline is expected to double the supply of cheap natural gas from Russia to Germany, which the European Union’s largest economy says is needed to help it switch from coal and l ‘nuclear energy.
But the 10 billion euros ($ 12 billion) project has been delayed for years and has drawn heavy criticism from allies in eastern Germany like Poland and the United States.
Critics say the project will increase Europe’s dependence on Russian gas and Ukraine has described it as a “geopolitical weapon”.
“Any new military action cannot be without serious consequences”, declared the Minister of the Greens. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, a Sunday weekly, referring to an accumulation of Russian troops on the Ukrainian border.
He warned that “nothing can be ruled out” if there is “a further violation of the territorial integrity” of Ukraine.
Germany’s new government threatened to block the operation of the pipeline if Russia invaded Ukraine. “In the event of further escalation, this pipeline could not come into operation,” said Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock.
Mr Habeck said: “From a geopolitical point of view, the pipeline is a mistake”, adding: “All countries were against it except Germany and Austria”.
He added: “The pipeline has been built yet. And the question of its commissioning remains open and must be decided according to European and German law.
The German authorities are waiting for the Swiss-based “Nord Stream 2 AG” gas pipeline company to submit documents to restart the certification process.
The pipeline would then also have to be approved by the European Commission.