STOCKHOLM – Sweden's militarily strategic Baltic Sea island of Gotland has turned down a Russian request to rent harbor space after the government warned it could harm the Scandinavian country's defense and political interests.
In an 11-0 vote, Gotland's technical board declined Thursday to allow Russia's energy giant Gazprom to store pipes in the Slite harbor for an undersea natural gas pipeline that will run from Russia to Germany.
The European Union, which imports one-third of its natural gas from Russia, agreed last year with Gazprom on a twin pipeline to run parallel to the existing Nord Stream 1.
However, there has been growing opposition amid hesitancy to make Europe more dependent on Russian energy. Regional tensions have grown and there have been reports of airspace violations by Russian military aircraft.