Volker says Zerkal's claims surprise him / Photo from UNIAN
Former U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations Kurt Volker says he was surprised by a recent statement made by Lana (Olena) Zerkal, former adviser to Naftogaz's head and new adviser to the Energy Minister, on his position regarding Russia's Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project.
This was reported by the European Pravda news outlet.
Volker assures he is an opponent of Nord Stream 2 and does not lobby for it.
"My stance on Nord Stream is well known and well grounded – I am an opponent of the project. I spoke about this in interviews, this is stated in written documents," he said*.
Yet, he says, the organization he works for is indeed involved in lobbying for Nord Stream 2.
"Nord Stream 2 has indeed hired BGR Group, where I work as a senior adviser, to represent its interests in Washington, DC. But I am not involved in this activity, which can be verified – you know that the U.S. has strict rules for the registration of lobbying activities. In fact, they [BGR Group] did not engage [me] exactly because of my views on Nord Stream 2," he said*.
Volker said he was surprised by Zerkal's statements.
"I know Olena Zerkal and was surprised she did not check with me. My views on this project have not changed," he added*.
* Note: Volker's quotes are given as back-translation.
Lana (Olena) Zerkal, a former adviser to the chairman of the Naftogaz board, said that the former U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations Kurt Volker had become a lobbyist for Nord Stream 2.
Nord Stream 2
- The Nord Stream 2 project envisages the construction and operation of two gas pipeline branches with a total throughput capacity of 55 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year from the coast of Russia through the Baltic Sea to Germany. It should connect Russia's Ust-Lug and Germany's Greifswald.
- This new pipeline bypassing Ukraine is to be built next to the existing Nord Stream 1 pipeline. The construction of the pipeline was expected to be completed before the end of 2019. The pipeline will be 1,220 km long.
- Russia's natural gas giant Gazprom is the founder of Nord Stream 2 AG.
- The project is financed by European companies – France's ENGIE, Austria's OMV, Royal Dutch Shell, as well as Germany's Uniper and Wintershall.
- The construction of Nord Stream 2 was suspended over U.S. sanctions against contractor companies, but resumed in February 2021. Nord Stream 2 AG decided to complete it on its own.
Translation: Akulenko Olena