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9 Apr, 2021 13:23

Ukraine will be ‘irreparably weakened’ if Russia & Germany allowed to complete Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, warns Kiev's deputy PM

Ukraine will be ‘irreparably weakened’ if Russia & Germany allowed to complete Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, warns Kiev's deputy PM

Completing Nord Stream 2 will cost Kiev billions of dollars by ending Russia’s reliance on Ukraine for transporting gas, and therefore must be stopped, according to Aleksey Reznikov, the country’s deputy prime minister.

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, the senior politician claimed Russia “has tried to bully Ukraine” by threatening to cut off the gas transported through the territory. Once the controversial pipeline is completed, Moscow would be able to act on it.

Nord Stream 2 will connect Germany directly to Russia via the Baltic Sea. It aims to protect Berlin’s energy security and make the process less reliant on third countries transiting gas, thereby lowering the price. Much of Europe’s gas comes from Russia via Ukraine, and Kiev receives hefty fees for pipeline usage.

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In late December 2019, Russian energy giant Gazprom signed a multi-billion-dollar deal with Kiev for five years of transit. Estimates have placed the agreement at a value of around $7 billion for Ukraine.

“Unlike the attack on Crimea, which came as a surprise, the pipeline’s completion will have entirely predictable consequences for our national security,” Reznikov wrote. “Ukraine will be irreparably weakened as soon as Russia has a new direct gas link to Germany.”

According to the deputy PM, once the pipeline starts operating, Ukraine will be “decoupled” from Western Europe in terms of energy security. Reznikov believes that Germany has “little to gain,” whereas Ukraine “stands to lose billions of dollars in transit revenue.”

Reznikov also noted that, once the pipeline is complete, Russia will be able to completely cut Poland and the Baltic states out of gas transportation.

As things stand, Nord Stream 2 is around 95% complete. Once finished, it will have two branches, with a total capacity of 55 billion cubic meters per year.

Construction of the pipeline has been significantly hindered by US sanctions. Washington has imposed numerous packages of measures against companies involved in the building, maintenance, insurance, and certification of the project, leading some to pull out altogether.

According to the US, Nord Stream 2 will “undermine Europe’s overall energy security and stability.” However, some have accused the Americans of opposing the pipeline for economic reasons, as the country looks to increase its exports of liquefied natural gas to the continent.

Germany, which stands to receive cheaper gas once Nord Stream 2 is completed, is in favor of completing the pipeline and has repeatedly ignored its NATO partner's requests.

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