Ukrainian President Zelenskyy fiercely opposes Russia’s $12bn pipeline underneath the Baltic Sea which deprives Kyiv of essential fuel transit charges.
Kyiv sees the soon-to-be-completed Nord Stream 2 pipeline carrying Russian fuel to Europe and bypassing Ukraine as “a dangerous geopolitical weapon”, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy stated.
The Ukrainian chief was talking on Sunday at a joint information convention in Kyiv with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has spearheaded the pipeline venture fiercely opposed by Russian neighbours Ukraine, Poland and the Baltic states.
The $12bn pipeline beneath the Baltic Sea is about to double Russian pure fuel shipments to Germany, Europe’s largest economic system. It avoids Ukraine, depriving Kyiv of important fuel transit charges.
“We view this project exclusively through the prism of security and consider it a dangerous geopolitical weapon of the Kremlin,” Zelenskyy stated.
He added that the primary dangers after its completion will likely be “borne by Ukraine” however that the pipeline may also be harmful “for all of Europe”.
The pipeline “will only play into the hands of the Russian Federation”, he stated.
For her half, Merkel stated Berlin agrees with Washington that “gas must not be used as a geopolitical weapon”.
“It will come down to if there is an extension to the transit contract via Ukraine – the sooner the better,” she stated, referring to the expiry of Moscow’s settlement with Kyiv in 2024.
‘A special responsibility’
The German chief, who met Zelenskyy two days after visiting his Russian counterpart in Moscow, stated she had mentioned with Vladimir Putin extending the contract previous 2024.
“We feel a special responsibility” and “understand the big concerns that President Zelenskyy expressed”, she stated. “We take them very seriously.”
Zelenskyy stated he and Merkel had mentioned the extension, however famous that he to this point had heard solely “very general things”.
The development of the pipeline led to tensions between Germany and the United States, however Washington finally waived sanctions towards the Russian-controlled builder of the pipeline.
Merkel stated the Germany-US settlement specifies “sanctions” if fuel is “used as a weapon”.
She added that these commitments have been “binding on future German governments”, as she is about to depart workplace subsequent month after 16 years in energy.
The US-Germany deal included a dedication to serving to Ukraine proceed to obtain transit charges as soon as Nord Stream 2 turns into operational.
But the pinnacle of Ukraine’s state vitality agency Naftogaz, Yuriy Vitrenko, informed Reuters information company final month he didn’t suppose Russia would proceed to transit any fuel via Ukraine past 2024.
Merkel has been a key ally of Ukraine since 2014, when Moscow annexed Crimea and pro-Russia separatists broke away from the nation’s east
But the German chancellor has annoyed Ukrainian authorities by opposing sending arms to Kyiv and pushing throughout the end line the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.
Merkel additionally desires extra progress in peace talks over japanese Ukraine and on Sunday referred to as for “Normandy format” negotiations between the leaders of Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine.
“This would enable progress, in my opinion,” she stated. “I’m pleased that Zelenskyy said he would be prepared to do so.”