Merkel, Putin discuss Ukraine gas transit amid Nord Stream 2 spat

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed continued transportation of Russian natural gas via Ukraine next year during a phone call, the Kremlin said on Monday.

A pipeline expansion, Nord Stream 2, to increase gas supplies from Russia directly to Germany under the Baltic Sea, is set to come into operation in the coming months.

Ukraine, which is waging a war against Russian-supported rebels near the Russian border, has protested against Nord Stream 2 as undermining European Union sanctions against Russia.

The United States, which like Germany has supported Ukraine’s efforts to end the conflict, is threatening to impose sanctions against Nord Stream 2.

Merkel and Putin discussed “prospects of Russian natural gas transit via the territory of Ukraine after January 1, 2020, and implementation of the Nord Stream 2 project,” the Kremlin said in comments carried by Russian state news agency TASS.

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