by Oleg Burunov
The US and Germany have reportedly reached a deal on the completion of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, with both sides expected to announce the agreement later on Wednesday.
The Biden administration has “quietly urged” Ukraine to scrap its criticism of a US-German agreement regarding the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project, Politico quoted unnamed sources as saying on Tuesday.
The insiders argued that Kiev’s opposition to the deal may damage relations between Ukraine and the US.
The remarks come after The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday that Berlin and Washington had reached an agreement to allow the completion of Nord Stream 2, which is expected to be announced on Wednesday.
A separate report by Bloomberg asserted that the soon-to-be-revealed deal allegedly stipulates slapping sanctions on Russia if Moscow tries to use energy as a “weapon” against Ukraine. The report did not specify what actions by Russia could provoke the countermeasures.
No Ukraine-Germany Consensus on Nord Stream 2?
The report followed accusations by Oleksiy Arestovich, a freelance adviser to the head of the office of the Ukrainian president, that German Chancellor Angela Merkel betrayed Kiev’s interests “in favour of Russia” during her talks with Volodymyr Zelensky on 12 July.
According to Arestovich, Zelensky failed to find “common ground” with Merkel on a number of issues, including Nord Stream 2 and the implementation of the so-called Steinmeier Formula, a mechanism to help resolve the conflict in eastern Ukraine.
Speaking to reporters after the negotiations, the Ukrainian president stressed that he was satisfied with the four-hour talks even though he admitted that he and Merkel “have different views on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline”.
Zelensky earlier slammed the project as “a weapon against Ukraine” that will ostensibly become “a weapon against all of Europe in the future”. He argued that the pipeline’s “operational launch is not related to economics”, urging Kiev’s western allies to torpedo the project.
Nord Stream 2 Project
Nord Stream 2, which is 98 percent complete, aims to lay a 745-mile twin pipeline to transport gas from Russia directly to Germany via the Baltic Sea. The pipeline will pass through the territorial waters of Denmark, Finland, and Sweden and will bypass Ukraine.
Russia insists that the project is purely an economic endeavour and has reaffirmed on multiple occasions that it will not affect the gas transit through Ukraine as per existing contracts.
The project is opposed by the US and its allies in Eastern Europe, especially Poland and Ukraine, amid allegations by Washington that once Nord Stream 2 is operational, Europe will become even more dependent on Russia’s energy resources, which will purportedly help Moscow use the pipeline as political leverage.
Washington has already introduced two rounds of sanctions on the project, in what Moscow views as an example of unfair competition meant to boost US liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports to Europe.
Germany has, in turn, consistently rejected the prospect of new extraterritorial sanctions against Nord Stream 2, describing American efforts to do so as an “encroachment on European sovereignty”, and warning that it is closely coordinating the issue with its EU partners.