Germany may create a special fund to bypass restrictions imposed by the US government on the Russian-led gas pipeline project Nord Stream 2, Bild tabloid has reported, quoting unnamed sources.

The slush fund is aimed at tackling the problems of climate change, and may identify the project as the most important element of environmental protection. The measure is reportedly being considered by local authorities in the German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.

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Under the plan, the state government would reportedly launch an enterprise whose products and services would be used only for completing the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

The fund would provide German firms with an opportunity to supply services to the Russian side. Technically, German companies won’t cooperate with the Nord Stream 2 project, led by Russian energy giant Gazprom, and therefore won’t become subject to the US sanctions.

The pipeline is being constructed by Gazprom’s subsidiary Nord Stream 2 AG in close cooperation with five European energy majors. The gas route, which runs under the Baltic Sea, is set to double the existing pipeline’s capacity of 55 billion cubic meters annually.

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The project faced sharp criticism from Washington which has repeatedly blasted Europe for over-reliance on Russian energy supplies, and accused Russia of monopolizing the European energy market.

Seeking to boost sales of US liquefied natural gas to Europe, the White House issued special guidelines for its Protecting Europe’s Energy Security Act (PEESA), allowing the State Department to introduce sanctions against each and every firm cooperating with the Russian energy project.

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