Merkel, Medvedev open gas pipeline binding countries "for decades"
European leaders ceremonially opened a massive pipeline carrying Russian gas under the Baltic Sea on Tuesday, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel said it created a long-term bond between Europeans and Russia, dpa reported.
The 1.2-metre-diameter pipe, which took 19 months to lay on the seabed, leads to the German coast and will supply 27.5 billion cubic metres of gas annually to western European nations. It is designed to operate for 50 years.
"We will be tied closely to one another for decades," said Merkel.
Together with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, she and others turned a big wheel to open a tap and let the gas out of the underwater pipeline into Germany.
The flat white wheel - a ceremonial device that was not connected to the actual pipeline - wobbled precariously as the leaders leaned on it, in a scene broadcast live on German national television.
Russia had begun filling the line with gas in September.