“The legitimization of the American approach”: why Zelensky called “Nord Stream - 2” a threat to the whole of Europe
President of Ukraine Vladimir Zelensky believes that Nord Stream 2 threatens the security of Europe. He said this following a meeting with his Polish counterpart Andrzej Duda, noting that both countries will increase cooperation with the United States in the energy sector. The Ukrainian leader emphasized that sanctions against Moscow can only be toughened until the conflict in the Donbass is resolved and the “occupation” of Crimea continues. Experts believe that Zelensky’s statements are intended to demonstrate loyalty to Washington, and are also dictated by fears of losing revenue from transit of Russian gas.
The Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline under construction allegedly poses a “threat” to Europe’s energy security. This was stated by President of Ukraine Vladimir Zelensky following a meeting with Polish President Andrzej Duda.
“We paid attention to the issue of energy security. And here we speak with Poland in a unanimous voice: “Nord Stream 2” is unacceptable and poses a threat to the whole of Europe, ”he stressed.
It should be noted that the gas pipeline has already been built at 75% - more than 1.8 thousand km of pipes have already been laid. The work is fully completed in the territorial waters of Germany and Finland. In addition to Gazprom, five European companies take part in the construction - Shell, OMV, Uniper, Ungie and Wintershall. Despite this, Poland, Latvia and Lithuania, as well as the United States, are actively opposing it.
According to experts, the position of the Polish leader can be easily explained. By attacking Nord Stream 2, Warsaw is trying to eliminate a competitor in the energy market.
“In this situation, Poland is simply pursuing its goals. Its task is to be the main gas and oil European hub with the help of the USA and Norway. And squeezing Russia out of the European gas market is the main thing Poland is doing right now, using any pretexts and topics, including Ukrainian, for this ”, explained Dmitry Solonnikov, director of the Institute for Contemporary State Development.
In this context, the expert believes, the desire expressed by Zelensky of Kiev and Warsaw to cooperate in the energy "Poland-USA-Ukraine triangle" looks quite logical. On August 29, the Polish state oil and gas company PGNiG announced that it would begin supplying liquefied natural gas from the United States to Ukraine as early as 2019.
Also on Saturday, an agreement was signed on cooperation in the supply of natural gas between Poland, the USA and Ukraine. It is assumed that the new agreement will reduce the "dependence" of Kiev on Russian gas.
According to analysts, Kiev’s active resistance to Nord Stream-2 is also explained by the fear of losing revenue from gas transit, since the corresponding contract expires in early 2020. The expert of the International Institute for Humanitarian and Political Studies Volodymyr Bruter believes that the Ukrainian leader echoes the US statements about the “insecurity” of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline so that Kiev has more chances to receive financial support from the US.
“Since, in this case, Zelensky acts as a supplicant to Warsaw and Washington, he repeats those mantras that are important to them. In addition, we must not forget that Ukraine may soon lose money for transit. In addition, it is in a very dependent economic situation. Because of this, Kiev is constantly forced to appeal to the collective West, and specifically to the United States about improving external financing. And the improvement of external financing will only be in response to one hundred percent loyalty and legitimization of the American and Western approach to the situation, ”said Bruter.
From this point of view, it is beneficial for Kiev to seek as long as possible the validity of sanctions against Russia, experts say. In addition, Zelensky at a press conference announced the "validity" of the revision of anti-Russian restrictions in the direction of tightening.
“We have coordinated our next steps to end the war in eastern Ukraine and return the occupied Crimea. Our common and principled position is that without full implementation of the Minsk agreements, without restoring the territorial integrity of Ukraine within internationally recognized borders, EU sanctions can be reviewed only in the direction of their strengthening, and not vice versa, ”Zelensky said at a press conference with Duda.
Meanwhile, Russia has repeatedly stated that it is not a party to the conflict in the Donbass and the subject of the Minsk settlement agreements. As for the Crimean affiliation, they emphasized in the Russian Federation that this issue was finally closed after the referendum in 2014.
However, the desire of Kiev to blame the third state, experts say, outweighs the arguments of Moscow. Andrzej Duda also supported Zelensky, speaking out for sanctions against Russia.
“We believe that the policy of sanctions should be continued, as this is the most peaceful method,” he said.
At the same time, Russia has repeatedly pointed out that conducting a dialogue with Moscow from the standpoint of sanctions is counterproductive. In particular, Russian leader Vladimir Putin spoke about this.
“As for sanctions, these are counterproductive and meaningless actions, especially in relation to a country like Russia,” he noted.
According to experts, the Ukrainian leader raised the issue of sanctions in negotiations with his Polish counterpart, since he considers Warsaw to be a “natural lobbyist” of his interests in relations with the West.
“I think that Zelensky and traditional Ukrainian leaders perceive Poland as a kind of natural lobbyist in relations with the West. In Ukraine, they believe that Poland can contribute to the fact that the collective West will have a “right” attitude towards events in Ukraine. Therefore, a special place is given to the Polish vector in Ukrainian foreign policy, ”said Vladimir Bruter in an interview with RT.
However, he noted, at present Poland’s relations with its main European partners - France and Germany - are far from good. Therefore, Polish lobbyism in Europe is now unpromising.
- © FREDERICK FLORIN / AFP
Accusations as an incentive for unity
The constant exaggeration of the topic of “guilt” of Russia, Bruter noted, gives Kiev a sense of unity with Europe.
“The common western vector is that Russia is to blame for the independence of what it does. She is simply to blame by default. I think this is a known fact and it simply repeats itself once again. Blaming Russia is very profitable for them, it consolidates, ”the source said.
However, he is sure that further tightening of sanctions by the EU is unlikely, as there is no consensus on the issue of restriction in Europe.
In the United States, on the contrary, at any opportunity they are announcing the introduction of new restrictions. In particular, this was announced on August 31 by US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, commenting on the possibility of expanding sanctions in connection with the implementation of Nord Stream 2.
“These negotiations are conducted at a high level in the US government. We take this option seriously, ”he said.