Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says Ukraine and the United States have the same stance on the construction of Russia's Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, noting he hopes for U.S. support in handling the project.
Zelensky made the comment during a joint press conference with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Kyiv on May 6, which was broadcast by the President's Office on Facebook, according to an UNIAN correspondent.
"And we discussed the issues not just of our occupied territories and the illegal annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation, but also Nord Stream 2. This is of utmost importance and a very sensitive issue for Ukraine," he said.
"I know there are different positions imaginable in Europe. Unfortunately, there is not always coinciding with the Ukraine's stance, but we have a full understanding with the United States, and their sanction policy is very well present and appreciated by us," the president added.
Nord Stream 2: Background
- The Nord Stream 2 project envisages the construction and operation of two gas pipeline branches with a total throughput capacity of 55 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year from the coast of Russia through the Baltic Sea to Germany. It should connect Russia's Ust-Lug and Germany's Greifswald. This new pipeline bypassing Ukraine is to be built next to the existing Nord Stream 1 pipeline.
- The construction of the pipeline was expected to be completed before the end of 2019.
- The pipeline will be 1,220 km long. The project is being implemented by Russia's Gazprom in alliance with European companies – ENGIE, OMV, Royal Dutch Shell, Uniper, and Wintershall. Ukraine stands against the construction of Nord Stream 2 as it will most likely lose its status of a gas transit country, while its potential revenue losses are estimated at US$3 billion annually. The project is also highly criticized by the U.S., Poland, and the Baltic States.
- The Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline has already been completed by more than 90%.
- The United States has imposed a series of sanctions against Nord Stream 2 and has repeatedly called on European allies and private companies to stop the related works.
- On January 7, 2021, a fund was established in Germany to support the completion of the Nord Stream 2 project.
- Eighteen companies have already refused to participate in the project or are planning to do so because of the sanctions.
- On February 6, 2021, Nord Stream 2 AG announced it would continue to lay the pipes under the project.
- On March 14, 2021, Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal Frans Timmermans said that Europe did not need the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. Despite this, Germany continues to insist on the completion of the project.
- On March 19, 2021, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken called on the companies involved in the construction of Nord Stream 2 to immediately halt laying pipes, threatening new sanctions.
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called Russia's Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline a trap for all countries across Europe.
- On April 20, 2021, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Ukraine should remain a transit country for Russian gas to Europe, despite Germany's decision to complete the construction of the Russian Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.
- On May 6, 2021, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Nord Stream 2 promotes Russia's interests and poses a threat to Ukraine.