Putin hopes Europe will resist US pressure on pipeline

MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin has defended a prospective Russia-Germany natural gas pipeline as economically feasible and voiced hope that European Union nations will be able to resist U.S. pressure to thwart the project.

U.S. officials have warned that Washington could impose sanctions on the undersea Nord Stream 2 pipeline. The U.S. and some EU nations oppose it, warning it would increase Europe’s energy dependence on Russia. The U.S. is also interested in selling more of its liquefied natural gas in Europe.

Speaking Wednesday after talks with Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, Putin noted that Bulgaria caved in to pressure and dumped the Russian South Stream pipeline. He added that he hopes that Europe as a whole “won’t look like Bulgaria and won’t demonstrate its weakness and inability to protect its interests.”

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