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Merkel’s Russian Pipeline Dilemma Laid Bare by Poisoning Uproar

  • Chancellor faces resistance at home to dropping Nord Stream 2
  • German leader didn’t repeat demand that pipeline be completed
Angela Merkel

Angela Merkel

Photographer: Geert Vanden Wijngaert/Bloomberg

The furor over the poisoning of a top Russian dissident has put Angela Merkel’s controversial backing of a Baltic Sea pipeline in the spotlight, as patience with Vladimir Putin’s government hits its limit in Germany.

The German military’s finding this week that Alexey Navalny was attacked with a novichok nerve agent has triggered calls for the chancellor to wield her biggest stick: withdraw support for the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which will ship Russian gas directly to Europe’s largest economy. Despite her growing exasperation with the Kremlin, that may not be so easy.