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17 Feb, 2021 15:50

Western countries imposing sanctions on Nord Stream 2 want to make Russia pay for ‘geopolitical project’ in Ukraine, Putin says

Western countries imposing sanctions on Nord Stream 2 want to make Russia pay for ‘geopolitical project’ in Ukraine, Putin says

Many Western states oppose the controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline because they want Russia to pay for their geopolitical project in Ukraine. That's according to President Vladimir Putin, who called the actions “primitive.”

Speaking on Wednesday, the Russian leader noted that Moscow has understood its adversaries' modus operandi for “a long time.”

“Why does everything revolve around Nord Stream 2? They want to make Russia pay for their geopolitical project in Ukraine,” he said.

The pipeline, which will connect Germany directly to Russia, is aimed at protecting Berlin's energy security and making the process less reliant on third countries transiting gas, which will also lower the price. Much of Europe's energy comes from Russia via Ukraine, and Kiev receives hefty fees for pipeline usage.

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In 2019, according to President Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine's state-owned oil and gas company Naftogaz signed a $7 billion transit deal, due to run until 2024.

In recent weeks, the imposition of sanctions aimed at completely stopping Nord Stream 2 has been at the forefront of discussion, especially since the alleged poisoning of Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny. Any new measures would come on top of the restrictions already imposed by the US, which has taken aim at the project as a means to both punish Moscow and ensure the existence of a European market for its Liquefied Natural Gas.

In 2021, the US Treasury Department expanded its measures against Nord Stream 2, with the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), which placed pipe-laying vessel Fortuna under financial restrictions.

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On Tuesday, energy giant Gazprom revealed that, despite opposition to Nord Stream 2, many EU nations had increased their purchases of Russian gas in 2021. In particular, Italian imports have grown by 12.7 percent, with Poland buying 63.7 percent more. France, one of the most vocal opponents of the pipeline, has received 43 percent more gas this year than over the same time period in 2020.

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