WASHINGTON, July 21 (Reuters) - Germany has committed to take steps to curb Russia's ability to export energy should Moscow pursue aggressive actions against Ukraine or use energy as a weapon, a top U.S. diplomat said on
Wednesday, outlining a U.S.-German pact over the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline.
The agreement, to be unveiled later on Wednesday, aims to resolve a long-standing dispute over the $11 billion pipeline, now 98% complete, being built under the Baltic Sea to carry gas from Russia's Arctic region to Germany. read more
U.S. officials have opposed the pipeline, which would allow Russia to export gas directly to Germany and potentially cut off other nations, but have said the U.S.-German pact would mitigate the possibility of Russia using energy as a weapon.
"Among other things, Germany has committed in this agreement with us that should Russia attempt to use energy as a weapon or commit further aggressive actions against Ukraine, Germany will take actions at the national level and press for effective measures at the European level, including sanctions, to limit Russian export capabilities in the energy sector," Undersecretary of State Victoria Nuland told lawmakers.
Nuland also said Germany would support an extension of the Russia-Ukraine gas transit agreement that expires in 2024.
"We will seek and press for and use full leverage to try to seek an additional 10 years for Ukraine, but more broadly we need to work together to reduce Ukrainian dependence, both its economic dependence on transit but its own dependence on Russian gas," she told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
"You'll see when this is released a considerable effort by both the U.S. and Germany to help diversify energy supply and energy source for Ukraine, with concrete dollar figures, euro figures attached to it," she added.
"This is a bad situation and a bad pipeline but we need to help protect Ukraine and I feel that we have made some significant steps in that direction with this agreement."
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