By: Nadeemy Haded

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Saturday that he hopes that the work of the "Nord Stream 2" pipeline to transport gas will be completed no later than the beginning of next year, despite the US sanctions.

"I hope that by the end of this year or in the first quarter of next year, the project will be completed and the gas pipeline will start working," Putin said at a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Moscow.

The date announced by the Russian President means a one-year delay in completing the project. The Russians and Germans had expected the line to start operating at the end of 2019 or early 2020.

For her part, German Chancellor Angela Merkel reiterated her support for the project, again condemning the Washington sanctions that caused the suspension of work.

She said: "I think that Nord Stream 2 can be accomplished despite the sanctions. The (Russian) President has made clear the timetable, there are some delays, but it can be done."

"We see cross-border (US) sanctions as inappropriate, which is why we continue to support this project," she added.

Nord Stream 2 would double direct Russian natural gas shipments to Western Europe via the Baltic Sea.

But Washington and some European countries, such as Poland, the Baltic states and Ukraine, consider that it will increase the Europeans' dependence on Russian gas and make Moscow use this matter to exert political pressure.

Source Sky News

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