Sanctions against Russia if it invades Ukraine could target the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Friday.
“Allies have decided to prepare dissuasive sanctions to get Russia to face up its responsibilities, and the risks it is taking … This also means, for instance, blocking the Nord Stream pipeline,” Le Drian said in an interview with RTL radio.
“This also means we’ll have to put in place, especially on energy, mitigation and precautionary measures” to stymie the impact of the sanctions on Europe, he added.
Given Europe’s dependence on Russian gas, fears about the Continent’s supplies have been growing against the backdrop of the deteriorating situation on Ukraine’s borders, where Russian President Vladimir Putin has deployed more than 100,000 troops in what many fear is a prelude to an invasion.
Western allies have increasingly broached the possibility of including the controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which links Russia to Germany, in a sanctions package they are preparing. German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock told the Bundestag on Thursday that targeting Nord Stream 2 was part of “a range of responses available” if Russia decided to invade Ukraine, with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz last week opening the door to discussing the idea.
Wolfgang Sobotka, the president for the parliament of Austria — which is not a NATO ally — said his country was ready to put Nord Stream 2 on the table, telling POLITICO in an interview: “A clear position is needed here — and we certainly support sanctions up to and including Nord Stream and, of course, gas.”
French President Emmanuel Macron is due to speak with Putin Friday.