Russian ships move to resume Baltic pipeline construction

A Russian pipe-laying ship has sailed into position to resume construction of a German-Russian gas pipeline in the Baltic Sea that the United States has vehemently opposed

The maneuvers followed Russia pledging to complete the pipeline despite the threat of U.S. sanctions.

Russia's state-controlled natural gas company Gazprom has moved to finish construction of the multibillion Baltic Sea pipeline with its own resources after a Swiss company doing the building work at sea opted out of the project a year ago under the threat of U.S. sanctions.

Gazprom had to send the Akademik Cherskiy on a long voyage from the port of Nakhodka on Russia's Pacific coast to the Baltics. The vessel has been moving between various Baltic ports since May as the Nord Stream 2 construction plans were thrown into uncertainty by the sanctions threat.

The U.S. has argued that the Nord Stream 2 would erode European energy security at a time when Russia-West relations have sank to post-Cold War lows due to crises such as Moscow's 2014 annexation of Ukraine's Crimea.

The Kremlin has countered by accusing Washington of trying to derail the project in a bid to force European customers to purchase U.S. liquefied natural gas instead of the cheaper Russian natural gas.