Denmark said Wednesday it is giving permission for a joint German-Russian underwater gas pipeline to be laid to through its territory, in a blow to the United States, which had fiercely opposed the project.

The decision by the Danish Energy Agency to approve the Nord Stream 2 pipeline's route is a victory for the governments of Russia and Germany, which had staunchly supported it.

Russian President Vladimir Putin hailed the move, saying it reflected Denmark's respect for its European partners.

 
 

The plan to transport natural gas about 1,200-kilometers (746-miles) through the Baltic Sea from Russia to Europe has come under fire from U.S. President Donald Trump's administration and several European countries, who argue it could increase Europe's dependence on Russia for energy.

The Danish government agency said it had granted a permit "to construct a section of the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipelines on the Danish continental shelf southeast of Bornholm in the Baltic Sea."

"We are pleased to have obtained Denmark's consent," said Samira Kiefer Andersson, a representative for Nord Stream 2 AG, the company that manages the project. "We will continue the constructive cooperation with Danish authorities to complete the construction of the pipeline."

She said preparatory work and the pipelay will start in coming weeks.

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