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At U.N., Trump hails Poland, slams Germany over Russian energy reliance

U.S. President Donald Trump addresses the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., September 25, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump told Germany on Tuesday to follow Poland’s example and not rely on Russia for its energy supplies which could make it vulnerable to “extortion and intimidation”.

Russia’s Gazprom and its European partners are developing the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, designed to double natural gas volumes pumped from Russia to Germany via the Baltic Sea, avoiding traditional transit route Ukraine.

“Reliance on a single foreign supplier can leave nations vulnerable to extortion and intimidation and that is why we congratulate European states such as Poland for leading construction of a Baltic pipeline so that nations are not dependent on Russia to meet their energy needs,” Trump told the United Nations General Assembly.

“Germany will become totally dependent on Russian energy if it does not immediately change course.”

Most eastern Europe states and the United States argue the proposed pipeline could ultimately limit supply routes and the energy security of the European Union, as well as hurting Ukraine’s efforts to reform its economy as bypassing the country would deprive it of billions of dollars in gas transit fees.

While Berlin and Moscow have been at loggerheads since Russia’s annexation of Crimea four years ago, they share a common interest in the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project.

Reporting by John Irish; Editing by James Dalgleish