Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba says he expects decisions and steps from the United States that will prevent the completion of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.
Kuleba announced this during a panel discussion of the U.S.-headquartered Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA) on the future of U.S.-Ukraine relations.
The minister says that messages that come from President Joe Biden's administration regarding Nord Stream 2 are very reassuring.
"The messages we're hearing from the new Administration are very reassuring. They emphasize the continuity of the policy of non-acceptance of Nord Stream 2. I believe we need some more time to see whether the reassuring messages will be followed by equally reassuring decisions and steps to be taken," Kuleba said.
At the same time, the foreign minister said that in the end, the "very nature of Nord Stream 2 is very simple." "If it gets completed, there can be only one conclusion: the action taken was insufficient to prevent it from being completed," he said.
Kuleba noted that Nord Stream 2 is a "painful story" and he "hates being at odds" with German diplomats over this project.
"They have their national interests, we have ours. And we believe that Nord Stream 2 is undermining broad European security," he said, noting that this is not only about energy security. "I speak in a much broader sense," he added.
Yet, the minister said that after 2014 Ukraine could no longer believe in any guarantees from Russia, even if it promises to maintain gas transit through Ukraine to Europe after the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.
"If Nord Stream 2 is completed, we will most probably receive an additional guarantee brokered by our European partners, a guarantee from Russia that it will continue to transit Russian gas through the Ukrainian pipeline for a couple of more years. The problem with it is that we cannot believe in any Russian guarantees since 2014," he said. "And the loss of transit of Russian gas through Ukraine will not only mean the loss of money paid for that transit – that's more or less that could be remedied, but it means that energy security of Ukraine will be weakened."
"The completion of Nord Stream 2 will eventually mean the end of the transit of Russian gas through Ukraine, which will undermine the national security of my country," he said.
Nord Stream 2: Background
- 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. The project is being implemented by Russia's Gazprom in alliance with European companies – ENGIE, OMV, Royal Dutch Shell, Uniper, and Wintershall. Ukraine stands against the construction of Nord Stream 2 as it will most likely lose its status of a gas transit country, while its potential revenue losses are estimated at US$3 billion annually. The project is also highly criticized by the U.S., Poland, and the Baltic States.
- On November 4, 2020, the media reported that U.S. Congress wanted to expand sanctions against Nord Stream 2 and TurkStream.
- On December 6, 2020, United States Charge d'Affaires to Germany Robin Quinville called on the EU and Germany to declare a moratorium on the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.
- On December 9, 2020, the U.S. House of Representatives approved the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) with expanded restrictions against the Russian Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.
- On December 11, 2020, the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline resumed.
- On December 29, 2020, it became known that the House of Representatives overcame the then President Donald Trump's veto on the U.S. defense budget with sanctions on Nord Stream 2.
- The United States is urging European allies and private companies to halt works on Nord Stream 2, and is preparing broader sanctions against the Russian project in the coming weeks.
- The U.S. Senate approved the U.S. defense budget for the fiscal year 2021, which provides for new sanctions against Russia's Nord Stream 2.
- On January 7, 2021, a fund was established in Germany to support the completion of the Nord Stream 2 project.
- On January 13, 2021, the U.S. Department of State notified European companies involved in the construction of Nord Stream 2 of the risk of imposing new sanctions.
- On February 22, 2021, the United States imposed new sanctions on the Russian FORTUNA vessel building Nord Stream 2.
- As of February 23, 2021, eighteen European companies at once refused to complete the construction of Nord Stream 2 over the U.S. sanctions.
Reporting by UNIAN