(Bloomberg) -- Gazprom PJSC’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline to Germany gives western allies leverage over Russia because President Vladimir Putin has an interest in getting the gas flowing, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said.

“It’s very unlikely or hard to see that happening if Russia has renewed its aggression on Ukraine,” Blinken said in an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday. 

The U.S. is pushing the government in Berlin to stop Nord Stream 2, which is awaiting certification by Germany, in the event Russia invades Ukraine, people familiar with the matter said last week. Blinken, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and their five Group of Seven colleagues on Sunday backed a joint statement warning Russia to back off Ukraine or “face massive consequences.”

Baerbock’s Green party, which is part of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s new government, opposes the pipeline. Natural gas hasn’t begun flowing through Nord Stream 2, which connects Russian output directly to Germany in contrast to existing flows through Ukraine. 

“And in fact, it’s a source of leverage on Russia because to the extent President Putin wants to see gas flowing through that pipeline,” Blinken said.

Asked whether Germany would stop the gas link, Scholz said Wednesday that an attack on Ukraine would be a “very dramatic violation of the rules which would have very different consequences.”


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