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Russia has long used energy as a weapon. German Chancellor Angela Merkel seems to be having second thoughts about Europe’s reliance on Russian gas and the new Nord Stream 2’s impact on Ukraine, and Kyiv’s struggle with Moscow.
Today Merkel said completion of the project, that will allow additional gas to be transported from Siberia into Germany and Western Europe, could not move forward without clarity on Ukraine still being used as a transit point for Russian hydrocarbons, and the $3+ billion it brings to Kyiv’s economy.
“I made very clear that a Nord Stream 2 project is not possible without clarity on the future transit role of Ukraine,” Merkel told a joint news conference in Berlin with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, reported Reuters.
“So you can see that it is not just an economic issue but there are also political considerations,” she added.
“I also said to President Putin yesterday: it cannot be that through Nord Stream 2, Ukraine has no further importance regarding the transit of gas.”
Germany has been a major factor in Western Europe standing with Ukraine in its struggle against the Kremlin’s support of pro-Russian separatists in the East. Merkel has held a hardline against Putin and Germany has been a player in the Minsk agreements which were supposed to end the war in Donbass.
However, Reuters reports she faces resistance in delaying the pipeline project from German business interests who have already invested billions in the Nord Stream 2 infrastructure plan.
“To change the legal basis with hindsight for political reasons would hurt confidence in legal certainty,” said the Ost-Ausschuss, which represents German business interests in Russia.