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Russia has no hope of starting up its undersea gas pipeline Nord Stream 2 anytime soon, but is confident that Europe will need the pipeline some day regardless of what it says now, the Kremlin said on Thursday.

Germany halted the Baltic Sea gas pipeline project, designed to double the flow of Russian gas direct to Germany, as Russia formally recognised two breakaway regions of eastern Ukraine as independent, days before sending tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine.

“The project’s infrastructure is ready, for some time it will lie in working condition at the bottom of the sea. This will be the very project that Europe will need, no matter what it says,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov said. “For now there is no hope.”

The European Commission on Wednesday unveiled a €210-billion (US$220 billion) plan for Europe to end its reliance on Russian fossil fuels by 2027 and to use the pivot away from Moscow to quicken its transition to green energy.

Russia will re-route energy resources refused by Europe to other regions, including to Asia, Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said on Thursday, adding that non-Russian supplies will be more expensive for Western buyers.

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