Germany still sees Nord Stream 2 as primarily commercial venture: spokeswoman

FILE PHOTO: The logo of the Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline project is seen on a board at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum 2017 (SPIEF 2017) in St. Petersburg, Russia, June 1, 2017. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin/File Photo

BERLIN (Reuters) - Berlin sees the proposed Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which would bring Russian gas direct to Germany under the sea, bypassing transit countries, as a private venture but wants clarity on the implications for Ukraine, a government spokeswoman said.

Ukraine, Poland and other countries located in the buffer zone between Russia and Germany strongly oppose the pipeline because they fear it will deprive them of crucial leverage over a Russia with which they have an uneasy relationship.

On Tuesday, Polish President Andrzej Duda and his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump issued a joint statement after Duda’s official visit to Washington pledging to work to counter Nord Stream 2.

“We are aware of the comments and see no reason to comment,” German government spokeswoman Ulrike Demmer told a regular news conference in Berlin on Wednesday. “The chancellor’s position on Nord Stream 2 is that it is primarily a commercial project but naturally we need clarity on the future transit role of Ukraine.”

Reporting by Thomas Escritt; Editing by Michelle Martin