Germany cannot rule out Nord Stream 2 as means of pressure, says foreign policy expert

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BERLIN, Jan 18 (Reuters) - Germany cannot rule out using the Nord Stream 2 pipeline as a means of political pressure against the Kremlin in case of further Russian aggression towards Ukraine, German Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael Roth told broadcaster ARD on Tuesday.

"We are counting on a diplomatic-political solution, and the diplomatic toolbox also includes sanctions," Roth told ARD.

"If we should really come to sanctions, and I still hope we will be able to avoid that, then we cannot rule out in advance things that may be demanded by our partners in the European Union."

The Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, already built but not yet approved for operation, is intended to bring more Russian gas to Western Europe, but opponents of the project, including Ukraine and the United States, argue it would make Europe too dependent on Russia. (Reporting by Anneli Palmen; Writing by Zuzanna Szymanska; Editing by Miranda Murray and Alex Richardson)