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Tim Korso. Sputnik International
Washington and Berlin recently struck a deal that is expected to allow the unimpeded completion and launch of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline – a joint venture by Russia’s Gazprom and European energy giants – while supposedly protecting Ukraine’s interests. Kiev, however, strongly opposes the launch of the pipeline.
Ukraine requested to hold consultations regarding the recently concluded deal on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline between the US and Germany, EU Spokeswoman for Foreign Affairs Nabila Massrali has said. She noted that Kiev invoked Articles 274 and 378 of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement to hold these consultations.
“The articles evoked refer to cooperation on infrastructure under the trade-related energy chapter of the DCFTA [Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area] title and to energy cooperation under the title of economic and sectoral cooperation”, Massrali said.
Ukraine’s state-owned oil and gas company Naftogaz earlier condemned the agreement between the US and Germany, which promises to stop Washington’s sanctions policy against Nord Stream 2 in exchange for defending Ukraine’s interests. Naftogaz argued that gas continues to be Russia’s “geopolitical weapon” and thus the pipeline’s operator, Nord Stream AG, must be slapped with US sanctions. Both Moscow and Berlin have repeatedly rejected claims that Nord Stream 2 is a political project by Russia and that it allegedly undermines European energy security.
Despite this, the US has been opposing the pipeline’s construction for years, demanding that Europe find an alternative to Russian gas, possibly in the form of American LNG. However, US President Joe Biden admitted earlier this year that Nord Stream 2 can’t be stopped. He negotiated an agreement with German Chancellor Angela Merkel that requires a gas transit contract between Russia and Ukraine, which expires in 2024, to be extended by 10 years. The agreement also stipulates investments in Ukraine that would make the country less dependent on Russian gas and profits from its transit to Europe.
© Sputnik / Dmitry Lelchuk
The provision, which requires Russia to extend gas transit contracts with Ukraine raised eyebrows in Moscow, since it was included in the US-German agreement without consulting the Kremlin. Russia’s Gazprom, which is a party to the Nord Stream 2 venture with European energy giants, welcomed both Washington and Berlin coming to an agreement on the issue. Gazprom noted that talks about continuing gas transit through Ukraine after 2024 are largely tied to the EU’s plans for decarbonisation. The company further stressed that the extension of contracts is dependent on the demand for gas in Europe, specifically in Germany – the largest gas consumer in the EU at the moment.