If Nord Stream 2 completed, Ukraine to be irreparably weakened – Reznikov
If the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline is completed, Ukraine will be irreparably weakened, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for the Temporarily Occupied Territories Oleksiy Reznikov said.
"Ukrainians therefore are bewildered by the continuing construction of the Baltic Sea pipeline, known as Nord Stream 2. Unlike the attack on Crimea, which came as a surprise, the pipeline's completion will have entirely predictable consequences for our national security. Ukraine will be irreparably weakened as soon as Russia has a new direct gas link to Germany," Reznikov said in an article for The Wall Street Journal released on Thursday.
The deputy prime minister said that with the Nord Stream 1 and Turk Stream pipelines already operational, Nord Stream 2 will complete the encirclement of Ukraine, Poland and the Baltic states, decoupling our energy security from Western Europe.
"The Kremlin has demonstrated time and again its willingness to use energy trade to advance its geopolitical ambitions. It would be unwise, if not reckless, for Europe to increase its dependence on Gazprom, Russia's state-owned energy company, and give Moscow direct control over which countries are supplied gas, and which can be cut off," Reznikov said.
He said that the current contract between Gazprom and the Ukrainian gas transmission operator guarantees the flow of export supplies to the west through Ukraine until the end of 2024.
"But make no mistake: on the day of the end of Nord Stream 2, this promise will be useless. Even if some transit through Ukraine continues, Ukraine will depend on the whims of the Kremlin. The fighting in Donbas, where Russia acts through its henchmen, mercenaries and even regular troops have been continuing at the same pace for more than seven years. The pipeline has not been shelled, Russia needs uninterrupted gas flows through Ukraine no less than we do. This mutual dependence is a deterrent that Nord Stream 2 will eliminate," Reznikov said.
The Ukrainian deputy prime minister said that while Germany will gain little, Ukraine could lose billions of dollars in transit revenues if a second pipeline across the Baltic Sea is constructed. According to him, this is a fact that Nord Stream 2 advocates often present as the only basis for Ukrainian resistance.
"The economic effect will be significant, but the statement is deliberately misleading. Ukrainian soldiers will risk their lives if Russia decides to escalate the conflict in Donbas after it no longer needs to consider the impact on gas exports," Reznikov said.
He said that Russia can and should stop hostilities in Donbas, withdraw its troops from the Crimean peninsula and restore Ukraine's sovereignty.