In a significant strengthening of the West’s previous position, Germany appears to have agreed with the United States to axe the Russian Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline if Russia invades Ukraine.
Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has conveyed the message to the Bundestag saying they have a broad bandwidth of responses at disposal, including Nord Stream 2, in the case of a new act of aggression.
The US State Department spokesperson Ned Price was first to suggest on Wednesday that the strategically vital gas supply system linking Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea, will not come to life if Russia invades Ukraine one way or another, but now it has been confirmed in the statements from the two countries officials.
Germany’s ambassador to Washington, Emily Haber, has confirmed on Thursday the hardening of Germany’s position in her comments on Twitter reiterating the joint declaration made by the US and Germany last summer that Russia will have to pay a high price if it uses energy as a weapon or if it violates in any way Ukraine’s sovereignty.”
The construction of Nord Stream 2 was completed in September but, considering that the project has become increasingly politicized, it still lays idle while awaiting Berlin and Brussels’ regulatory approval.
Gas experts estimate that if the pipeline, intended to bypass Ukraine, starts operations, gas transit via Ukraine will stop, which is Kyiv’s biggest fear since transiting gas has served Ukraine as an insurance policy against militaristic advances on its soil.
Yuriy Vitrenko, the CEO of Ukraine’s Naftogaz, who has personally sat in negotiations with Russian President Vladimir Putin, noted that the Russian leader’s plan was to build the pipeline so it would be easier for Russia to invade Ukraine.
Ukraine keeps trying to convince its European partners that its gas transition system possesses Europe’s biggest gas reserves, which is of utmost importance in situations of price volatility.
Russia, on the other side, claims that Ukraine’s ageing pipes could burst at any time.