Austria has said it still supports the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, despite growing reservations about the project in parts of Europe following the poisoning of Russian opposition figure Aleksei Navalny.
President Alexander Van der Bellen said on September 15 that there should be no connection between the Navalny case and Nord Stream 2, a nearly complete pipeline that will bring gas from Russia to Europe beneath the Baltic Sea.
Van der Bellen was speaking alongside visiting Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, whose country receives vital income from the transit of Russian gas and fears being weakened by Nord Stream 2.
Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, also speaking next to Zelenskiy later in the day, echoed Van der Bellen’s view that there was no need to halt Nord Stream 2 because of Navalny’s poisoning.
Germany has been one of Nord Stream 2's biggest proponents but there are growing calls within Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition government and the opposition to halt the pipeline over Navalny's poisoning if Moscow doesn’t cooperate with a transparent investigation.