U.S. President Donald Trump has accused Germany of being a “captive” of Moscow because of its reliance on Russian energy and urged it to halt work on the $11 billion gas pipeline.
The pipeline, which would carry gas straight to Germany under the Baltic Sea, has also been criticized in some quarters because it would deprive Ukraine of lucrative gas transit fees, potentially making Kiev more vulnerable in the future.
U.S. Ambassador Richard Grenell addressed the issue in a letter sent to several companies, the U.S. Embassy said on Sunday.
“The letter reminds that any company operating in the Russian energy export pipeline sector is in danger under CAATSA of U.S. sanctions,” the embassy spokesman said, adding that other European states also opposed the planned pipeline.
Germany and European allies accuse Washington of using its Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) to meddle in their foreign and energy policies.
Russian gas giant Gazprom is implementing the project jointly with Western partners Uniper, Wintershall, Engie, and Shell.
The letter raised eyebrows within Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government.
One German diplomat said the ambassador’s approach did not follow common diplomatic practice and that Berlin would address the issue in direct talks with officials in Washington.