German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that her country’s attitude towards the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project is, for the present, “unaffected” by Russia’s treatment of its opposition leader Alexei Navalny.
At a press conference after an online meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron, Merkel on Friday reiterated that the stance of the German government on the project has not been changed, reports Xinhua news agency.
The 1,230-km Nord Stream 2 pipeline is designed to transport natural gas from Russia to Germany through the Baltic Sea.
The pipeline could deliver 55 billion cubic metres of gas per year.
Merkel added that it was vital to maintain channels of dialogue with Russia.
“Despite all the differences, it is nevertheless strategically advisable to remain in contact on many geo-strategic issues,” she said.
On Navalny’s case, Merkel said that Germany and France reserve the right to continue sanctions against Russian officials.
Also on Friday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that relations between Russia and the European Union (EU) are challenged by “a lack of normalcy”.
Talking about the possibility of new sanctions over the case of Navalny, Lavrov said that Russia has grown accustomed to the “unilateral restrictions” of the bloc, adding that the EU remains an “unreliable partner” at this stage.