Embattled Nord Stream 2 seeks to skirt Danish veto

Russia's controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline consortium on Friday said it had applied for an alternative route to skirt a new Danish law that threatened to block the project.

Embattled Nord Stream 2 seeks to skirt Danish veto
A file photo showing pipes for the Nord Stream 2 pipeline stacked in Mukran harbour in Sassnitz, Germany. Photo: Stefan Sauer/DPA via AP, file/Ritzau Scanpix

New legislation which took effect in January allows the Danish government to veto pipelines passing through the Nordic nation's territorial waters based on its foreign policy, security and defence interests. 

Led by Russia's gas giant Gazprom, the consortium said in a statement that the law gives the Danish foreign ministry the right to grant the green light for pipeline and infrastructure projects.

Since no decision has been forthcoming since the law was passed in January 2018, “Nord Stream 2 AG decided to explore alternative routes outside of Danish territorial waters,” the consortium said.

The initial route was planned to pass south of the Danish island of Bornholm in the Baltic Sea, entering Danish territorial waters.

But the 175-kilometre-long alternative route would pass northwest of Bornholm, avoiding Denmark's territorial waters and only entering its exclusive economic zone.

Under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, countries cannot block other nations from laying underwater pipelines and cables.

The Danish Energy Agency on Thursday said it was processing the application.

Gazprom plans to lay the 1,200-kilometre Nord Stream 2 pipeline through the Baltic Sea to the German coast near Greifswald, where it would connect to the European gas transport networks.

The pipeline has caused splits within the EU, with Poland and other eastern states fearing it could be used as a tool to boost Russian influence over the bloc.

The Baltic route allows Germany and other European countries to avoid gas piped through Ukraine. Russia has shut off gas supplies to Ukraine in the past, having knock-on effects in the European Union.

READ ALSO: Denmark could block Russian pipeline


Denmark decries airspace violations by Russian planes

Denmark's government on Friday decried two Russian aircraft violating Danish airspace and summoned   Moscow's ambassador over the incident.

Denmark decries airspace violations by Russian planes
Russian MiG fighter jets. NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA / AFP

The defence ministry in one NATO’s founding members said fighter jets had been scrambled to counter the incursion on Friday,  Ritzau news agency reported.

“Completely unacceptable that Russian planes violate Danish airspace, even twice in one day,” Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod said in a post to Twitter.

Kofod added that the repeat violation made it look like a “deliberate action”.

“We are still examining the details, but I have already taken the initiative to summon the Russian ambassador for a talk at the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs,” the foreign minister said.

The violations had occurred over the Danish island of Bornholm in the Baltic Sea, south of Sweden.

“It is very rare that we see this type of violation of Danish airspace, so two in the same day must be deemed to be serious,” Defence Minister Trine Bramsen told Ritzau.

According to the agency, Russia has repeatedly flown over Danish airspace and in August 2020, a Russian B52 bomber also flew over Bornholm.