Russia aims to ‘sever Ukraine from Europe’ with gas project: US diplomat
PR dla Zagranicy
Russia is seeking to increase its power in Europe and its grip over Ukraine with a new gas pipeline to Germany, a US diplomat has been cited as saying.
Russian President Vladimir Putin. Photo: EPA/SERGEI ILNITSKY
Through the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, Russia aims to "increase its leverage of the West while severing Ukraine from Europe,” Francis Fannon, assistant secretary for energy resources at the US State Department, said, as quoted by the Reuters news agency.
The 1,200-kilometre Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which is scheduled for completion in 2019, is expected to supply around 55 billion cubic metres of natural gas a year from Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea, circumventing Poland, the Baltic states and Ukraine.
US President Donald Trump in July hit out at Germany for supporting the construction of Nord Stream 2, despite opposition from some other European countries, including Poland.
The pipeline, which aims to bring Russian gas to Western Europe via the Baltic Sea, has been opposed by both Trump, a Republican, and his Democratic predecessor Barack Obama as a political tool for Russia to boost its power over Europe, Reuters reported.
If Nord Stream 2 is completed, Ukraine could lose billions of dollars in transit charges, the news agency said.
It cited Russian President Vladimir Putin as saying that Nord Stream 2, a project being developed by a consortium of Russia's gas giant Gazprom and five European companies, is purely economic and not directed against other countries.
A commentator for a German newspaper has warned that the contested Nord Stream 2 gas link to Western Europe is not a business project, but a Russian “weapon against Ukraine.”
The Financial Times said in an editorial in August that the new Russia-Germany pipeline was against Europe’s interests.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said in May that Nord Stream 2 was “a new hybrid weapon” aimed at the European Union and NATO.
Polish President Andrzej Duda said in October that the construction of the pipeline despite a lack of approval from all EU members showed a lack of solidarity within the bloc.