On Thursday, July 22, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that a compromise deal allowing the completion of the Russian gas pipeline to Europe without further U.S. sanctions is “good for Ukraine.”
On Wednesday, The U.S. and Germany announced an agreement where they have pledged to counter all Russia’s attempts to use the Nord Stream 2 pipeline as a political weapon.
They also agreed to fund alternative energy development projects and support Ukraine and Poland, bypassing the project and fearing Russia’s intentions.
Project Nord Stream 2 raises a major foreign policy dilemma for the Biden administration. U.S. officials from both parties have long been concerned about Russian authority over Europe’s gas supply. However, the pipeline is almost complete, and the Trump administration in the U.S. decided to rebuild the damaged relations with Germany.
Poland and Ukraine deplored the decision that enabled the pipeline’s completion, stating that efforts to reduce Russia’s security threat were inadequate.
Merkel told reporters in Berlin that the differences remain as seen in yesterday’s reactions, admitting there was opposition in the U.S. Congress.
Germany needs “a whole lot of work,” she said. She is striving to extend Russia’s gas transport transactions through Ukraine after 2024, in particular, to support the switch of Ukraine’s energy supply and engineer a “reverse flow” from Europe’s gas supply to Ukraine.
“the deal was a good step that demanded readiness to compromise from both sides, but on the other hand doesn’t overcome all differences that existed the day before,” Merkel said. She also argued that sanctions could still be implemented, and they are not entirely vulnerable to Russia.
Merkel denied that Russia presents a more critical partner to Germany than Poland and Ukraine. She said Germany and the United States set the right priorities for this deal, and this joint statement is also better for Ukraine from her perspective.
However, the Ukrainian government expressed strong disapproval of the deal.
Dmytro Kuleba, the Ukrainian Foreign Minister, said there are many questions about how the US-Germany agreement can mitigate the security risks for Ukraine and Central European countries due to Nord Stream 2.
The Green Party’s Annalena Baerbock, who is to s succeeded Chancellor Merkel in Germany’s September national election, also criticized the deal. “the agreement was not a solution, especially not for security in Ukraine.” Baerbock said in an interview with Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
Russia denied allegations by the United States, Ukraine, Poland, and others stating the use of energy as a political weapon and stated it had no intention.
on Thursday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, “Russia has never used energy resources as an instrument of political pressure and has been and will remain a responsible guarantor of the European continent’s energy security.”
Alexei Miller, the head of state-owned Russian natural gas company Gazprom, reaffirmed that the firm is now ready to negotiate continued gas supplies via Ukraine after the deal expires in 2024.
Gazprom could also increase transport volume through Ukraine but emphasized that future agreements must be subject to market standards.
Miller said Nord Stream 2 is a purely economic project, providing a new supply route that is about 2,000 km (about 1,240 miles), shorter than the one across Ukraine.
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