This picture posted on the website of Russian energy giant Gazprom shows Nord Stream 2 pipe-laying operations in German territorial waters.

“The project has nothing to do with the current political situation,” Putin said.

MOSCOW — The Nord Stream 2 pipeline connecting Russia with Germany is a “purely economic project,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday.

“The project has nothing to do with the current political situation. Yes, there is much talk about it and in my opinion this is primarily aimed at unfair competition in the European market,” Putin said at a meeting with French business leaders via video link.

The 1,230-km Nord Stream 2 pipeline is designed to pump natural gas from Russia to Germany through the Baltic Sea and could deliver 55 billion cubic meters of gas annually.

During his first trip to Europe since taking office, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken last month peddled the idea that the Nord Stream 2 is “bad for Europe, bad for the United States, ultimately it is in contradiction to the EU’s (European Union’s) own security goals.”

The pipeline is currently around 95 percent complete, and Germany has been steadfast on the completion of the project despite opposition from the United States.