The construction of the new Nord Stream II pipeline, which is set to carry Russian gas to Germany under the Baltic Sea will not be possible without Ukraine’s transit role. The announcement was made by German chancellor Angela Merkel during a visit in Berlin by Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko. “I made very clear that a Nord Stream II project is not possible without clarity on the future transit role of Ukraine” said Merkel in a joint press conference.
She also noted that she made this very clear to Russian president Vladimir Putin in a previous phone call. This means that in order to have Nord Stream II approved by EU, Russia must give guarantees that it will not try to bypass Ukraine from the transit route.
Inside EU there is a battle concerning the pipeline, with Poland and Washington on one side convinced that it is a tactic to shut Ukraine out of the transit game and increase EU’s dependence on Russian gas. On the other side there is Germany that says the additional gas will help guarantee European security and reduce the risk of disruptions, which have occurred occasionally in the existing southern route through Ukraine.
The proposed route for Nord Stream II is from Russia to Germany via Finland, Sweden and Denmark, a route that follows an existing pipeline and would double the annual capacity to 110 billion cubic meters. But the current pipeline is working at half capacity due to EU sanctions on Russia.
Germany’s move comes after criticism that it is continuing to push for the Russian pipeline while expressing solidarity with the UK in the conflict with Russia over the assassination attempt on a former spy. So Germany is trying to show that the pipeline is not a victory for Kremlin the way that British officials called it.