German economy minister Robert Habeck has ordered the country's energy regulator to halt the certification of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline in response to Russia's military escalation in eastern Ukraine, Spiegel reports.
According to Spiegel, Habeck sent a letter on Tuesday to the Federal Network Agency ordering it to withdraw a positive certificate for the controversial undersea pipeline, which analysts say empowers Russia to act more aggressively in Ukraine. The project is an extension of the already operating Nord Stream pipeline.
If switched on, the new pipeline would allow Russia to send 55 more billion cubic meters of gas under the Baltic Sea, bypassing Ukraine. This would deprive Ukraine of up to $2 billion a year in transit payments and a major deterrent against further Russian incursion.
Construction of the 1200-kilometer undersea pipeline was completed in September, but the pipeline was awaiting approval from the Federal Network Agency since then.