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Nord Stream 2 has submitted two pending permit applications with the Danish Energy Agency for routes running north and south of Bornholm.

In March, the agency asked the pipeline project to submit another application for a route that would run south of the island but not in Danish territorial waters.

Zelensky said his country’s role in transporting and storing Russian gas is “a guarantee of energy security for both Ukraine and Europe.”Merkel sought to reassure Ukraine that it had it stood behind Kiev in its fight against Russian aggression but stopped short of saying Germany would reconsider its approval of Nord Stream 2.

“I have repeatedly said to the Russian president that for me the issue of Ukraine being a transit country for gas is essential, so very, very important, and President Putin has always stressed to me that he understands that,” Merkel said in a joint news conference.

In an emailed statement, the Nord Stream 2 press office expressed frustration with Denmark’s refusal to accept the pending applications.“Asking for a third route option to be developed, despite two fully processed, ready-to-be-permitted applications on the table, can only be seen as a deliberate attempt to delay completion of the project,” the statement said Denmark’s Energy Agency will finish its review of the pipeline’s third permit application on July 17.

A final decision deadline has not been set, agency spokesman Ture Falbe-Hansen told Danish news agencies on June [email protected]: @sabraayres Ayres is a special correspondent.

Eastern European leaders in particular fear it will increase Moscow’s influence in the region.

That has Ukrainians, who are at war with Russian-backed separatist militias in its eastern regions, worried.

Project officials say more than two-thirds of the pipeline is already completed, with permission secured to construct through the maritime territories of Russia, Finland, Sweden, and Germany.

Only Denmark stands in its way.“They are almost getting to the point where they have built everything except what is in the Danish zone,” said Hans Mouritzen, a senior researcher on foreign policy at the Danish Institute for International Studies.“Denmark needs a good relationship with Germany,” Mouritzen said.

These days, they are the focus of a geopolitical struggle surrounding a controversial gas pipeline project designed to transport Russian gas directly to Western Europe.

Russia’s state energy giant Gazprom says it is nearing completion of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, set to stretch 765 miles under the Baltic from a port north of St. But as the pipeline’s steel and concrete construction gets closer to Danish waters near easterly Bornholm Island, Denmark has stalled the pipeline’s completion by refusing to grant the project construction permits in its territorial waters.

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