REUTERS

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Slovak Prime Minister Eduard Heger are convinced that the construction of Russia's Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline undermines energy solidarity among European countries.

Zelensky and Heger discussed this subject in Kyiv on Friday, May 28, 2021, during the latter's official visit to Kyiv, according to the President's Office.

Read alsoUkraine's Foreign Minister says only U.S. strong stance able to halt Nord Stream 2

In particular, they noted the strategic role of cooperation between Ukraine and Slovakia in ensuring the energy security of Europe and agreed that Nord Stream 2 is a political project.

The Slovak premier also emphasized that Slovakia invariably supports the territorial integrity of Ukraine and condemns the Russian occupation of Crimea. He also said that President of Slovakia Zuzana Čaputová had confirmed her participation in the inaugural summit of the Crimean Platform, which will be held during the celebration of Ukraine's Independence Day in August 2021.

"Our position on the annexation of Crimea is very important – it is a violation of international law by Russia," the Slovak politician said.

Zelensky separately briefed Heger on developments in the east of Ukraine and in Russia-occupied Crimea.

"On behalf of the Ukrainian people, I thank President Čaputová, you, your country, your people for the firm support of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as for the unwavering stance on sanctions policy due to Russian aggression in the east of our country and illegal annexation of Crimea," the Ukrainian president said.

He also expressed gratitude to the Slovak government for the recent ratification of an agreement allowing the resumption of full-fledged operation of Uzhgorod International Airport. The corresponding bilateral agreement was signed during Zelensky's official visit to Slovakia in September 2020.

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.
  • Russia's natural gas giant Gazprom is the founder of Nord Stream 2 AG.
  • The project is being financed by European companies – France's ENGIE, Austria's OMV, Royal Dutch Shell, as well as Germany's 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 on 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 as part of 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 26, 2021, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba noted that Ukraine would fight for national interests in the Nord Stream 2 case until the very end.