German FM rejects calls to cancel Nord Stream 2 to punish Russia for Kerch – doing so would actually hurt Ukraine

Germany’s foreign minister on Monday warned against pulling out of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline with Russia, as some lawmakers suggested using the project to punish Moscow for its seizure of Ukrainian ships and their crew off the coast of Crimea. Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, a candidate to replace Chancellor Angela Merkel at the helm of her Christian Democrat party, said on Sunday one option might be to reduce the amount of gas that will flow through the pipeline from Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea. However, Foreign minister Heiko Maas, a member of the Social Democratic junior partners in Merkel’s coalition, told reporters the $11-billion pipeline, led by Russia’s Gazprom, was a commercial project that would continue, even if German firms pulled out. Withdrawing political support would diminish Berlin’s ability to pressure for some gas supplies to continue to be sent to Europe via Ukraine, he said.

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