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U.S., Poland Oppose Gas Pipeline Linking Russia And Germany

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (left) and Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz in Warsaw on January 27.

The United States and Poland on January 27 took a common stand against a planned gas pipeline linking Russia to Germany, saying it is politicizing energy and undermining attempts to make Europe less dependent on Russian resources.

The pipeline, known as Nord Stream 2, would bypass Poland and leave Central Europe vulnerable to Russian pressure.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, speaking in Warsaw after talks with Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz said the pipeline was "not a healthy piece of infrastructure" for Europe's energy stability.

"Like Poland, the United States opposes the Nord Stream 2 pipeline," Tillerson said at a news conference with Czaputowicz. "We see it as undermining Europe's overall energy security and stability and providing Russia yet another tool to politicize energy as a political tool."

The pipeline would be the second to carry Russian gas directly to Germany and Western Europe via the Baltic Sea instead of through Poland and Ukraine.

Poland is wary of Russian intentions with the pipeline and "we share the view that it is necessary to diversify energy supplies into Europe," Czaputowicz said.

Poland began importing liquid natural gas from the United States last year. Tillerson encouraged further such sales and spoke in favor of a pipeline that would run from Poland to Norway.

The two diplomats also pledged to boost military cooperation. Poland, Czaputowicz said, would like to see Washington enhance its military presence in the country.

Some 5,000 U.S. troops were deployed to Poland last year as part of two separate American and NATO missions.

The deployments were intended to reassure allies on NATO's eastern flank that the alliance was serious about protecting them from Russian aggression.