President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky has said that he learned about the decision of the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden on sanctions against Nord Stream 2 through the press and was "surprised a few times."
"I've used the word 'surprised' a few times because I was really surprised a few times. Besides the United States decision, the second surprise was indeed that I learned about it through the press," Zelensky said in interview with the Axios.
"This is [Nord Stream 2 pipeline] a weapon, a real weapon (…) in the hands of the Russian Federation," he said.
"It is not very understandable, (…) and definitely not expected, that the bullets to this weapon can possibly be provided by such a great country as the United States," the President of Ukraine noted.
Zelensky believes that Washington's decision is not aimed at supporting Ukraine. In his opinion, it can "weaken the confidence" of Ukrainians in the United States.
"If they build the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, circumventing Ukraine, it is clear that the time will come when Ukraine will no longer have this leverage. Everybody is fully aware of this," he said.
"We understand that only the U.S. is capable of stopping this construction," he noted.
The Ukrainian president said he was ready to meet face to face with Biden ahead of his summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
"I understand that due to the U.S. President's pre-existing plans and his tight schedule they might well not happen, but that choice will be only his to make. As the guarantor of the Constitution of Ukraine, I myself am ready to defend Ukraine at any moment and at any spot of the planet, I am ready to meet with him and discuss all those details before his meeting [between Biden and Putin]. However, we'll see how it ends up going. I am sure that some sort of contact between us, in that form or another, is quite possible," Zelensky said.
Earlier, Biden said that further sanctions against Nord Stream 2 would be unproductive for U.S. relations with Europe. In his opinion, the implementation of the project will continue, because it is already almost fully completed.