A Russian propaganda effort is holding up a push to build a natural gas pipeline in Italy that would challenge Russian energy influence in Europe.
The “Russian Bear” is using propaganda in Italy to build resentment against the 45-mile Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), according to GOP Rep. Devin Nunes of California. The pipeline is located on the end of the Southern Gas Corridor, a 2,200 mile planned project to strengthen Europe’s energy supply by connecting it to plentiful natural gas fields in the Caspian Sea on the border of Europe and Asia.
“One of the challenges that we’re having is the Russian propaganda machine is actually working in Italy,” Nunes, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, told Fox News on Sunday. “The last holdup right now is to bring the pipeline ashore in Italy. And, believe it or not, you have Russia propaganda working in Italy.”
The Trump administration supports TAP as a competitor to the Nord Stream 2, a planned natural gas pipeline between Russia and Germany.
Germany’s energy mix depends partly on Russian natural gas to sustain its push for a greener grid. Trump said the relationship has made Germany a “captive of Russia.” (RELATED: Trump Calls Germany’s Relationship With Russia Energy Industry ‘Innapropriate’)
“It’s the only way, I think, that we’re going to ultimately take on Russia, is to say, look, we’re not going to be reliant on you in the West for our energy,” Nunes told Fox News.
Russian propaganda is being spread by environmental groups that have cropped up where pipelines have been proposed, Nunes said.
“It’s very similar to the reports that we have seen out of the United States,” Nunes said. “People forget this. But everybody’s worried about Russia-gate and what Russia did in the election, but people forget the reports that are out there of the Russians involving themselves in some of these extreme environmental groups that have actually stopped oil drilling and gas drilling in the United States.”
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