OREANDA-NEWS. The completion of the laying of the «Nord Stream-2» gas pipeline in German waters by the heavy crane vessel «Fortuna» is scheduled for September 12. This was reported by the Bloomberg news agency on Sunday, August 22, with reference to the German maritime authorities. According to the agency, the German Waterways and Shipping Administration based in Stralsund has informed about the work of the «Fortuna» on a site of 13-14 km.

The gas pipeline project is 99 percent complete. Nord Stream 2 AG, the operator of the initiative, has not yet officially confirmed the completion date. Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov commented on the situation with the pipeline. «We consider the construction of the «Nord Stream-2» gas pipeline as an exclusively commercial, mutually beneficial project», he said in an interview with the Hungarian newspaper Magyar Nemzet.

«The claims, that it will increase Europe's dependence on gas supplies from Russia are unfounded», the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry says.

Earlier, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that Berlin would advocate further sanctions against Moscow if the Russian authorities use the «Nord Stream-2» gas pipeline as a weapon. She voiced this position, in particular, on August 22 in Kiev at a joint press conference with Ukrainian President Volodymir Zelensky.

Merkel stressed the importance of Ukraine remaining a gas transit country after 2024. She pointed to Germany's desire that the contract on the supply of Russian gas through Ukraine, which expires in three years, be extended as soon as possible.