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Ukraine slams German-Russia gas pipeline, calls for project cancellation

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko delivers a press conference in Kiev on February 28, 2018. (Photo by AFP)

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has repeated his opposition to Germany’s plans for building a second gas pipeline to bring gas from Russia, saying the project is political in nature and has no economic justification.

Poroshenko said in an interview with German business newspaper Handelsblatt published on Monday that the Nord Stream 2 project would bypass Ukraine and enable Russia to pile more pressure on the country, calling for its cancellation.

He said the project is “political bribe money for loyalty to Russia,” adding that building it would mean “imposing an economic and energy blockade on Ukraine.”

Poroshenko said Germany could easily increase the amount of gas it receives from Russia through the Ukrainian transit pipeline, adding that it “is much cheaper and can be modernized cheaply and easily.”

Germany currently imports around a third of its gas from Russia through Ukraine.

The Ukrainian president added that Germany was making a mistake by counting too much on Russia for its gas needs and said Moscow was an “extremely unreliable partner” in energy provision, arguing that Russia’s company Gazprom still refused to compensate Ukraine for shutting off gas supplies in the middle of winter.

Russia has decreased the amount of gas it delivers to Ukraine since the rise of a pro-Western, anti-Russian government in Kiev in 2014. Ukraine’s Western allies have imposed sanctions on Russia after re-joining of the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea to Russia that year.

However, Germany has continued with plans to build the Nord Stream 2, saying the project is purely economic with no need for political intervention.

Berlin issued permits needed for construction of the pipeline on its territory and in its waters last month, but the project should also gain the approval of other nations.

Russian Gazprom's Nord Stream 2 project plans to connect Russia and Germany via the Baltic Sea, bypassing Poland, Ukraine and the Baltic states.

Chancellor Angela Merkel has faced increasing criticism over the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. High-ranking German politicians from different parties have called on her to stop the project, which they say would affect Germany’s ties with major allies in the Baltic region, especially with Poland.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (L) and Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki are pictured before their news conference in Berlin, Germany, on February 16, 2018. (Photo by Reuters)

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki clashed with Merkel over the issue at a Berlin press conference in February, saying the pipeline would increase Russia’s monopoly as a single gas producer in Europe.

Merkel, however, disagreed with her Polish counterpart, saying the planned Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline connecting Germany and Russia posed no threat to Europe’s energy security.

“We think this is an economic project. We are also for energy diversification. We also want Ukraine to continue to have transit gas traffic, but we believe Nord Stream poses no danger to diversification,” she said.

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