Ukraine: Nord Stream 2 in preparation for Russian invasion

Status: 01/17/2022 11:28 am

Switching off Ukraine in gas transit – for the Ukrainian energy company Naftogaz that is the main goal of the controversial Russian pipeline Nord Stream 2. And even more: With this Moscow is preparing the invasion of Ukraine.

With the inaugural visits by Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock to Ukraine and Russia, the controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline has also come back into focus. The accusation comes from Ukraine that the project is to be seen as preparation for a Russian invasion.

The head of the Ukrainian energy group Naftogaz, Yuri Vitrenko, told the “Süddeutsche Zeitung”: “We are 100 percent sure that Nord Stream 2 has the sole purpose of shutting down Ukraine in gas transit.” Russian President Vladimir Putin is preparing a military invasion, “and he wants to ensure that this does not have any negative consequences for trade with Europe.”

In case of war “no lines” through Ukraine

The state-owned company Naftogaz operates the 38,000-kilometer-long gas network through Ukraine, which has so far also transported Russian gas to Central Europe. Moscow’s goal is to eliminate this transit, Vitrenko told the newspaper. Commitments to extend existing transit contracts did not change that. These allowed Russia to book and pay for capacity but still divert the gas through the Baltic Sea. In the event of war, however, there would be “no more lines” through Ukraine, Vitrenko warned. “The first bombs will be aimed at the pipelines.”

Vitrenko of Naftogaz fears a Russian invasion.

Image: AFP

Chancellor Olaf Scholz recently emphasized that the Baltic Sea pipeline is a purely private, not a political project. Vitrenko rejected this. “The only economic logic is that Putin can punish Ukraine for its pro-European vote.” Germany, where the Nord Stream pipeline ends, also benefits from this. “For me, from a moral point of view, it is difficult to accept,” said the Naftogaz boss.

Nouripour: “Pipeline must not come during invasion”

The Green external expert Omid Nouripour, however, made ARD morning magazine clear: If Russia invades Ukraine, the Baltic Sea pipeline must not be put into operation. “The moment there is another level of aggression by Russia, there is a very, very clear that this pipeline must not come,” he said.

Baerbock can now exert convincing pressure in Moscow, on the one hand by making it clear “that the thread of dialogue must not be broken and that we will of course stay in touch”. Germany is also “trying to seek a balance of interests in order to return to a peace order in Europe”. On the other hand, it must be made clear that “aggression and further violation of Ukraine’s territorial integrity would of course come at a high price.”

“What the Russian side is asking for is confusing”: Omid Nouripour, Bündnis90/Die Grünen, on Baerbock’s visit to Kiev and Moscow

Morning magazine, January 17, 2022

Kiesewetter: “Stop pipeline if attacked”

There are similar statements from the opposition. “I think Nord Stream 2 must be stopped if Ukraine is attacked. Then it would be a bad investment, but an investment in Europe’s security,” said CDU foreign policy expert Roderich Kiesewetter Deutschlandfunk. He warned against excluding the possibility of sanctions against Russia from the outset. This weakens the negotiating position of the Europeans.

Kiesewetter emphasized the importance of a common European attitude towards Moscow and the cohesion of Europe and the USA. Baerbock must ensure that at least one clear European stance becomes clear and that answers from the trip are also discussed at European level again. The CDU politician also made it clear that the Foreign Minister had the full support of the Union.

Nord Stream 2 has already been completed. The Federal Network Agency is currently examining whether all the legal requirements for operation are met. A decision is expected in the summer.

Leave a Comment