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Russian gas meets only a fraction of Germany's needs - Germany's Scholz

FILE PHOTO: German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz delivers a speech during the annual award ceremony of the M100 media prize in Potsdam, Germany, September 17, 2020. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

BERLIN (Reuters) - Gas contributes only a fraction of Germany’s energy consumption, and Russian gas only a fraction of that, so it is wrong to say that the Nord Stream 2 pipeline will make Germany dependent on Russian energy, Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said.

Asked about the flagship Kremlin project, which has been heavily criticised by the United States and some European countries, Scholz on Monday restated the German government’s position that the pipeline was a private investment and should not be the target of U.S. sanctions.

The poisoning of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, blamed by most Western governments on Russian state actors, has led to renewed calls for the nearly complete pipeline, built by state-owned Gazprom GAZP.MM, to be cancelled.

Critics of the pipeline say it increases Germany’s reliance on Russian energy and deprives transit countries Poland and Ukraine of crucial leverage over the giant country to their east.

Reporting by Thomas Escritt; Editing by Maria Sheahan

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