German Chancellor Candidate Threatens Sanctions if Russia ‘Uses Nord Stream 2 Against Ukraine’
The Nord Stream 2 project is a system of offshore gas pipelines, running under the Baltic Sea from Russia to Germany. The United States and a number of European countries have voiced opposition to the pipeline, saying that it would increase Europe’s dependence on Moscow.
Germany Chancellor candidate Armin Laschet has threatened to sanction Russia if the Kremlin uses Nord Stream 2 as a geopolitical weapon against Ukraine. In an interview with the Polish newspaper Rzeczpospolita, the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia’s minister-president said that Ukraine’s security and sovereignty must be a priority for Berlin’s policy.
“Should Russia again commit aggressive acts against Ukraine, Germany will take measures at the national level and advocate punitive measures in the European Union,” Laschet said, warning the Kremlin against “breaking international law, attacking Western democracies with hybrid means or violating basic human and civil rights” in their own country.
As mentioned earlier, the Nord Stream 2 entails the construction of a 745-mile-long offshore twin pipeline, which will supply up to 1.9 trillion cubic feet of gas per year from Russia to Germany. The project has been staunchly opposed by the United States as well as by Poland and Ukraine.
Washington claimed that the project would increase Russia’s clout in Europe and called on its allies to buy US liquefied natural gas instead. Kiev and Warsaw feared that Moscow may use Nord Stream to bypass existing pipelines through their countries and hence put pressure on both nations. Key members of the project, including Berlin, Europe’s economic powerhouse, insist that the pipeline is purely economic in nature.
Over the years, the White House has repeatedly voiced its readiness to prevent the completion of the project and slapped sanctions on companies building the pipelines. The Biden administration, however, made a U-turn with the Democrat signing an agreement with the outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Under the deal, Washington has guaranteed that it wouldn’t impede the completion of the project, while Berlin has promised to take measures against the Kremlin if it tries “to use energy as a weapon” against Ukraine.