Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says that only the United States could prevent the completion of Russia's Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.
This was reported by the press service of the President's Office.
"Only the United States and President Biden's administration can prevent Nord Stream 2 from being completed and commissioned," Zelensky said at a meeting with U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen, Robert Portman, Christopher Murphy, their advisers, as well as Chargé d'Affaires a.i. of the United States in Ukraine Kristina Kvien in Kyiv on June 2.
"Nord Stream 2 is not just the energy security that all diplomats and politicians talk about, it is a separate powerful weapon that is being given to the Russian Federation today. And then Europe asks how you can protect yourself from Russia. The answer is very simple – do not give weapons to the enemy," Zelensky said.
According to the Ukrainian leader, Ukraine is currently defending Europe and European values on the eastern border, and this requires a strong and well-supplied army.
"Nord Stream 2 will disconnect Ukraine from gas supplies, which means 'disconnecting' us from at least US$3 billion a year… We will have nothing to pay for the Ukrainian army," he added.
Zelensky stressed that the understanding of all the threats posed by Nord Stream 2 is especially relevant on the eve of Biden's meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Another potential threat that could strengthen Russia's position in Europe, according to Zelensky, is the failure to provide Ukraine with a clear signal and specific terms for obtaining a NATO Membership Action Plan (MAP).
He also expressed the hope that the United States would be represented at the highest level during the Crimean Platform Summit. "We would like the United States to support us in the issue of ending the [Russian] occupation of Crimea at the highest level with its presence at this first important Summit on August 23," Zelensky said.
Following the meeting with Zelensky, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen assured that the U.S. Senate would continue counteracting the completion of Nord Stream 2. According to her, before the pipeline is put into operation, it must obtain permits and licenses for operation.
Nord Stream 2
- 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 financed by European companies – France's ENGIE, Austria's OMV, Royal Dutch Shell, as well as Germany's Uniper and Wintershall.
- The construction of Nord Stream 2 was suspended over U.S. sanctions against contractor companies, but resumed in February 2021. Nord Stream 2 AG decided to complete it on its own.