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AFP
January 22, 2021

Stop Russia pipeline after Navalny lockup: MEPs

World

AFP
January 22, 2021

BRUSSELS: The EU Parliament on Thursday called for an end to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project over the arrest of Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny.

MEPs also called for sanctions against “Russian oligarchs” and allies of President Vladimir Putin, in response to the arrest of Navalny upon his return to Russia on Sunday. The EU must “immediately prevent” the completion of the Germany-backed pipeline, said a non-binding resolution adopted in the European Parliament.

Nord Stream 2 is a 10-billion-euro ($11-billion) pipeline that will run beneath the Baltic Sea and is set to double Russian natural-gas shipments to Germany, Europe’s largest economy. It has long been in the crosshairs of the United States, particularly by the Trump administration which has promoted US gas and openly criticised European countries for their reliance on energy from Russia.

Poland, Ukraine and the Baltic states are also fiercely opposed to the pipeline, fearing it will increase Europe’s reliance on Russian energy, which Moscow could then use to exert political pressure. The arrest of Navalny came after he was treated in a Berlin hospital where it was concluded he was poisoned with a rare Novichok nerve agent developed by Russia, plunging Germany’s relations with the Kremlin to a new low.