Ukraine pledges to stop Nord Stream 2
Kiev has a plan to obstruct the launch of the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which will bring gas from Russia to Germany through the Baltic Sea, a top Ukrainian energy executive has claimed.
Yuri Vitrenko, Chairman of the Board of state-owned energy firm Naftogaz, wrote on Facebook on Thursday that “we have a plan for further legal steps to hinder the launch of this Russian pipeline.”
He went on to say that Kiev will make the “maximum effort” to stop the project from operating, explaining that Ukrainian efforts had already worked “to delay the completion of this pipeline for more than a year.”
“This is the result of our collaboration with American and European partners,” he claimed, adding that Naftogaz had also inserted itself into the procedure for certifying Nord Stream 2, which is currently ongoing.
The pipeline was completed in September but has yet to begin operating, with German authorities saying that it will take six months or more for the necessary paperwork to be completed. Currently, European countries receive much of their supplies of Russian gas through a Soviet-built network of overground pipes running through Ukraine, and Kiev warns that it stands to lose billions of dollars in transit fees when the project gets the green light.
In November, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba took credit for delaying Nord Streams 2’s approval, saying that it “should have been operating and earning money a long time ago, but the fact that it still does not work and we are fighting against it is the result of our common endeavors.”
Last week, however, new German Chancellor Olaf Scholz insisted that the delay is not political, and that the pipeline is a neutral project that should not be used as leverage against Russia. “The German authorities will decide this completely independent of politics,” he stated. “The process is moving along.”
On Tuesday, gas deliveries along the Yamal-Europe pipeline, which runs from Siberia to eastern Germany, came to a halt as temperatures plummeted across Russia. Western officials accused Moscow of playing politics to force the EU to certify Nord Stream 2, but Russian energy firm Gazprom noted that it was continuing to fulfill its contracts.