NATO ally warns that Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline will put Ukraine at Putin’s mercy.
Mantas Adomenas, Lithuania’s vice minister of international affairs, has warned that the contentious Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline, which is set to start delivering Russian gas to Germany via the Baltic Sea soon, could put Ukraine at the mercy of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
In an exclusive interview with The Washington Newsday, Adomenas said the Nord Stream 2 project is a threat to the European Union, NATO, and Ukraine’s security, which is fighting Russian-backed separatists in the country’s east and demanding the return of the Crimean peninsula, which Moscow annexed in 2014.
“It’s quite awful that the project is moving forward,” Adomenas added.
Despite opposition from consecutive American administrations and a slew of EU member states, including the Baltic republics along Russia’s border, the $11 billion Nord Stream 2 project is moving forward.
The pact, which was also opposed by former President Donald Trump, was not stopped by President Joe Biden’s administration. In January, the United States slapped penalties on corporations that worked on or insured the pipeline, but they were withdrawn in May.
Critics worry that the pipeline will strengthen Europe’s reliance on Russian gas, making the EU a pawn in Putin’s geopolitical maneuverings. The timing could not be better for Moscow, given Europe’s persistent energy crisis.
The agreement might also jeopardize Ukraine, which is currently a key transit point for Russian gas to Europe. Putin could hypothetically shut down the Ukraine route with Nord Stream 2, costing Kyiv billions in transit fees and diminishing Ukraine’s strategic relevance to the EU. The present transit arrangement with Ukraine is set to expire in 2024.
“I believe that once Nord Stream 2 is operational, Ukraine gas transportation would be halted,” Adomenas told The Washington Newsday. He added of the Kremlin, “They will find excuses, they will find explanations.”
“I’m afraid that is the case,” Adomenas said when asked if the EU had effectively sold out its Ukrainian allies.
Such worries are already being stoked by Putin. The strongman claimed earlier this month that Ukraine’s old gas transportation pipeline had not been fixed “for decades,” and that “anything could rupture” along the route at any time.
The EU is divided over Nord Stream 2. Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder is in charge of the advocates. This is a condensed version of the information.