BERLIN, January 11. /TASS/. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on Thursday strongly rejected the US criticism of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project to deliver Russian gas to Europe bypassing transit countries.

“Matters related to the European energy policy must be decided upon in Europe, not in the United States,” the minister said during a reception organized by the German Committee on Eastern European Economic Relations.

He added that his country was open to criticism of the project, but imposing unilateral sanctions over it would be wrong.

“Imposing unilateral sanctions against Nord Stream 2 is a wrong path anyway. I clearly stated this to [US Secretary of State] Michael Pompeo,” the foreign minister said.

The German top diplomat reiterated that Berlin had received Moscow’s assurances that gas transit via Ukraine would continue after the pipeline goes into operation.

“We support the talks with Russia and Ukraine currently being conducted by the European Commission,” he said.

Germany’s Handelsblatt newspaper reported last Sunday, citing sources in the German government, that Berlin was concerned by US plans to impose sanctions on two construction companies – Swiss-based Allseas Group and Italy’s Saipem. According to the paper, Allseas Group, which is to lay “over 90% of pipelines for the project,” will have to bear the brunt, while Saipem has already completed its work under the contract.

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