January 23
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The U.S. stepped up its opposition to the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline linking Russia and Germany, saying the project raises security concerns and that it could draw U.S. sanctions, Bloomberg reported.

The U.S. opposes the project because it will increase Europe’s reliance on Russia for gas supplies. It’s also worried the pipeline could open ways for Russia to install undersea surveillance equipment in the Baltic Sea, said Sandra Oudkirk, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Energy diplomacy.

Speaking to reporters in Berlin, Oudkirk said the project could be sanctioned under a bill passed in August 2017. Congress passed the legislation in response to Russia’s intervention in Ukraine and its suspected U.S. election interference, giving the government authority to act against any Russian energy projects including Nord Stream 2, the envoy said.

“That means that any pipeline project, and there are multiple pipeline projects in the world that are potentially covered, is at an elevated sanctions risk," Oudkirk said.

Oudkirk said the U.S. also opposed the pipeline due to security concerns, adding it would allow Russia to place listening devices along the pipeline’s route, although she declined to comment on specific devices.

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