Poland and Germany disagree over planned Russian gas pipeline

WARSAW, Aug 20 (Reuters) - Poland, unlike Germany, strongly opposes Russia’s plan to build a new gas pipeline across the Baltic Sea, and shares U.S. opinion that the project would help strengthen Moscow’s market position, Polish foreign minister Jacek Czaputowicz said.

Berlin has given political support to the building of a new, $11 billion pipeline to bring Russian gas across the Baltic Sea called Nord Stream 2, bypassing traditional routes through Ukraine, despite qualms among other EU states.

In July U.S. President Donald Trump publicly criticised Germany for supporting the pipeline deal with Russia.

“I would like to underline that Poland’s stance differs here from the German one. We see this dispute as an existing one between the U.S. and Germany,” Czaputowicz said at a joint statement with his German counterpart Heiko Maas.

Poland buys most of the gas it consumes from Russia but has taken steps to reduce that reliance.

“In this U.S.-Germany dispute we are at the U.S. side, as its arguments are more convincing and besides, we have raised them before,” Czaputowicz also said in a broadcast speech.

He reiterated Poland’s concerns that Nord Stream 2 was a harmful and political project that will strengthen Russia’s dominant position in the gas market and be a threat to Ukraine.

“I know about these objections but the German government does not share them,” Maas said.

The foreign ministers spoke in Harmeze, south of Poland, near the Auschwitz Nazi death camp, which Maas visited earlier on Monday.

Reporting by Agnieszka Barteczko and Anna Koper; editing by David Evans