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Berlin/Moscow. Germany could consider halting the Nord Stream 2 pipeline if Russia attacks Ukraine, Foreign Minister Olaf Scholz said yesterday, as pressure mounts on his government to take a more aggressive stance against the Kremlin.

Scholz met in Berlin with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg to discuss further steps after talks between Russia and Western states over the Kremlin’s troop deployment along the Ukrainian border ended without progress last week.

The German chancellor had previously said that he is open to the approval of sanctions in the event of a Russian attack, with all options on the table, which would include the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which runs between Russia and Germany and was built to bring more Russian gas to Western Europe.

Some observers say he is sending mixed signals by labeling the pipeline – which has already been built but is not yet approved for operation – as a private commercial project that should not be subject to sanctions.

His Social Democratic Party, the lead partner in a three-way governing coalition, has historically been closer to Russia than other German parties, and Berlin is under pressure to find a way to bridge its energy gap as it leaves behind energy production. coal and nuclear power plants to adopt greener technologies.

Opponents of Nord Stream 2 – including Ukraine and the United States – argue that it would make Europe too dependent on Russia for its energy supply.

In response to a question about the gas pipeline, Olaf Scholz told the media that “it is clear that there will be a high price to pay and that everything will have to be discussed in case there is a military intervention in Ukraine.”

The future of the project could ultimately be out of Germany’s hands, as it is subject to approval by European Union regulators.

Options, on the table

The United States said on Tuesday that Russia was preparing a possible attack on Ukraine that could happen “at any moment” and warned that it was handling all options for a response.

“No option is off the table,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters, warning of an “extremely dangerous situation.”

“Now we are at a stage where Russia could at any moment launch an attack against Ukraine,” he said.

Psaki’s description of the situation around Ukraine comes as the heads of US diplomacy, Antony Blinken, and Russia, Sergei Lavrov, plan to meet in Geneva on Friday.

A US official who spoke on condition of anonymity said Blinken’s goal was to see “if there is a diplomatic way out” and “common ground” that would persuade Russia to back down from Ukraine.

For its part, Russia called for “concrete” answers yesterday before continuing to discuss Ukraine, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said.

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