Senate committee to consider resolution against Nord Stream 2 pipeline

FILE PHOTO - Matthias Warnig, Chief Executive Officer of Nord Stream 2 AG, attends a meeting with Russia's President Vladimir Putin and Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev in Sochi, Russia October 12, 2017. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican and Democratic U.S. senators on Thursday unveiled a resolution calling for the cancellation of Russia’s Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline, a link under the Baltic Sea from Russia to Germany.

Leaders of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said they would take up the resolution at their next business meeting.

Opponents of the pipeline worry it will weaken support for Ukraine by depriving Kiev of gas transit fees along the traditional route for Russian supplies, which meet more than a third of the European Union’s gas needs.

The pipeline, owned by Russian state energy firm Gazprom, has been a focus of international attention since Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea in 2014. Germany has been trying to garner support for the pipeline.

President Donald Trump’s administration has been pushing against it. The U.S. ambassadors to Germany, Denmark and the European Union urged EU members to vote against the pipeline in an opinion column published by Deutsche Welle on Thursday.

The resolution calls for the pipeline’s cancellation and supports a multinational freedom of navigation in the Black Sea after Russia’s aggression against Ukraine in the Kerch Strait.

The EU bloc is divided in its support for the project. Eastern European, Nordic and Baltic Sea countries view the 1,225 km (760 mile) pipeline as holding the EU hostage to Moscow, while those in northern Europe, especially Germany, prioritize the economic benefits.

France plans to back an EU proposal to regulate the pipeline, its foreign ministry said on Thursday, potentially threatening its completion and dealing a blow to Germany.

Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Tom Hogue