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Germany Says U.S. Sanctions Against Gas Pipeline 'Not The Way To Go'

Germany's Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (file photo)

U.S. sanctions against the Moscow-backed Nord Stream 2 natural-gas pipeline project would be the wrong way to solve a dispute over energy supply, according to German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas.

"Questions of European energy policy must be decided in Europe, not in the U.S.," Maas said in a speech in Berlin on January 10.

The minister added that imposing unilateral sanctions against Nord Stream 2 was "certainly not the way to go."

The planned pipeline would run under the Baltic Sea, bringing Russian gas directly to Western Europe and bypassing the existing networks running through Ukraine.

Washington has opposed the project, calling it a tool for Russia to consolidate sway over Europe.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said she secured a pledge from Russian President Vladimir Putin allowing gas shipments across Ukraine's territory.

Moscow says the $11 billion project is purely economic and not directed against other countries.

Relations between Moscow and Kyiv dramatically deteriorated after Moscow seized and annexed Ukraine's Crimea region in March 2014. Moscow is also backing separatists in a war against Ukrainian government forces that has killed more than 10,300 people in eastern Ukraine since April 2014.

Based on reporting by Reuters