The Russian-backed Nord Stream 2 pipeline, linking Siberia's gas fields to consumers in the EU, won?t commence operations for another six months, Berlin's ambassador to Ukraine has revealed on Monday.
In an interview published by Interfax Ukraine, Anka Feldhusen commented on proposals from Kiev to transit an additional 55 billion cubic meters of gas to the EU as part of a special deal. According to her, the idea has merit and can be implemented in the meantime if Russia wants to supply more energy.
"This is an interesting proposal, because Nord Stream 2 will definitely not work for another six months," she said. However, at the same time, she cautioned that Kiev does not have it entirely within its power to supply Western Europe with energy. "It's not as easy as we think because the gas is in Russia, not in Ukraine, the transfer point is on your eastern border," she went on.
Kiev has repeatedly stressed the consequences Nord Stream 2 could have for the country, warning that it could lose access to billions of dollars in transit fees once the pipeline, which bypasses Ukraine, begins pumping gas to Western Europe. However, the certification of the massive infrastructure project was postponed in mid-November until the company reorganizes itself in accordance with German national law.
Shortly after the announcement of the delay, Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba boasted that it was a result of his country's lobbying. "Nord Stream 2 should have been operating and earning money a long time ago, but the fact that it still does not work and we are fighting against it is the result of our common efforts," he proclaimed.
The head of Ukraine's state-run energy firm, Naftogaz, even went as far to say that, if given the green light, the new project heightens the chances of a "full-scale war" breaking out between Kiev and Moscow.
However, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that "despite all the complexities related to Russian-Ukrainian relations today," there would be no weaponization of energy exports and said that the credibility of state energy firm Gazprom should not be undermined.