Russia Says Nord Stream 2, TurkStream to Improve Europe's Energy Security

MOSCOW (Reuters) — The Nord Stream 2 and TurkStream gas pipelines are designed to improve the energy security of Europe, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday.

The $11 billion Nord Stream 2 project, which will double the capacity of the existing Nord Stream pipeline across the Baltic Sea and allow Russia to bypass Ukraine when piping gas to Europe, has been a focal point of tensions between Moscow and Washington.

There are only 15 km (9 miles) left to finish the pipeline, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday.

Despite U.S. sanctions, Nord Stream 2 is almost complete and the key question is how Russia will ship its gas to Europe once a current transit deal between Kyiv and Moscow expires in 2024.

After meeting German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the Kremlin on Friday, Putin said Russia planned to fully comply with its obligations on gas transit via Ukraine.

He said Moscow was ready to send gas via its neighbor even after 2024 but Russia needed to understand the scale of demand for its fossil fuel first.

The European gas market is eagerly awaiting Russian flows via Nord Stream 2 as European gas prices have reached record highs due to low liquefied natural gas supplies.

Putin said future gas supplies were a matter for talks given Europe's green energy drive.

Ukraine has opposed the construction of Nord Stream 2, saying it was politically motivated.

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