BERLIN (AP) — German Chancellor Angela Merkel has stood by her backing for a German-Russian gas pipeline project despite the Navalny case and the threat of U.S. sanctions. She also appeared to smooth over differences on the issue with fellow European heavyweight France on Friday. The Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which would bring Russian gas to Germany under the Baltic Sea, faces bipartisan opposition in the United States. Washington has said that the project would make Europe more dependent on Russian gas and hurt European energy security. The Kremlin has responded by accusing the U.S. government of trying to promote sales of its own liquefied natural gas.