Russian President Vladimir Putin has referred to neighboring rival Ukraine as a "geopolitical project of the West," while addressing leaders of Parliament factions.

Putin said the attacks on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline set to transmit gas directly from Russia to Germany bypassing Ukraine – a project seen by many as an energy security threat to the EU and an attempt to deprive Ukraine of significant transit revenues – are an attempt to make Russia pay for the "geopolitical project of the West – Ukraine," an UNIAN correspondent in Russia reported February 17.

Read alsoNaftogaz elaborates on Ukraine's further steps if Nord Stream 2 not implemented"That's all, in fact; everything is quite primitive, everything is simple. We have long understood this," Putin said.

Nord Stream 2: Background

The Nord Stream 2 project envisages the construction and operation of two gas pipeline branches with a total throughput capacity of 55 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year from the coast of Russia through the Baltic Sea to Germany. It should connect Russia's Ust-Lug and Germany's Greifswald. This new pipeline bypassing Ukraine is to be built next to the existing Nord Stream 1 pipeline.

The construction of the pipeline was expected to be completed before the end of 2019.

The pipeline will be 1,220 km long. The project is being implemented by Russia's Gazprom in alliance with European companies – ENGIE, OMV, Royal Dutch Shell, Uniper, and Wintershall. Ukraine stands against the construction of Nord Stream 2 as it will most likely lose its status of a gas transit country, while its potential revenue losses are estimated at US$3 billion annually. The project is also highly criticized by the U.S., Poland, and the Baltic States.

According to media reports, U.S. President-elect Joe Biden intends to do his best to prevent the construction of Nord Stream 2.

On November 4, 2020, the media reported that U.S. Congress wanted to expand sanctions against Nord Stream 2 and TurkStream.

On December 4, 2020, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said he doubted that the U.S. position on Nord Stream 2 would change after Joe Biden's inauguration.

On December 6, 2020, United States Charge d'Affaires to Germany Robin Quinville called on the EU and Germany to declare a moratorium on the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.

Read alsoKuleba: Russia started curtailing relations with EU back in 2014, by launching aggression against UkraineOn December 9, 2020, the U.S. House of Representatives approved the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) with expanded restrictions against the Russian Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.

On December 11, 2020, the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline resumed.

Germany's federal maritime regulator BSH says the construction work on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline could be stopped for an indefinite period in German waters but opponents still need to give detailed reasons to justify the halt.

On February 7, 2021, the Nord Stream 2 operator announced the start of pipe-laying in Danish waters.