German and Ukraine leaders discuss issues surrounding the Nord Stream 2 pipeline

German and Ukraine leaders discuss issues surrounding the Nord Stream 2 pipeline

Ukraine’s recently inaugurated president Volodymyr Zelensky will meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin today for talks concerning the

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Photo: Reuters

Ukraine’s recently inaugurated president Volodymyr Zelensky will meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin today for talks concerning the Russia-to-Germany Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

Nord Stream 2 has long been an issue of concern for Kiev due to concerns that Russia may use its control of the pipeline to coerce Kiev into political and economic concessions. Nord Stream 2 is designed to deliver some 110 billion cubic metres of natural gas to Germany and circumvent existing transit pipelines that run through Ukraine. The Russian state company Gazprom is the project’s majority shareholder. At this point the pipeline is nearly halfway complete.

Once completed, Nord Stream 2 will significantly reduce the Ukraine’s energy leverage. Kiev has in the past dictated the terms of pipeline transit for Russian gas flows throughout the country. The new pipeline will likely significantly reduce the Ukraine’s ability to negotiate lower gas prices upon which its industrial base and general population are highly reliant.

Germany’s strong support for the pipeline has the potential to cause a rift in the bilateral relationship between Germany and the Ukraine. While both Mr Zelensky and Ms Merkel share similar concerns over Russian aggression in eastern Ukraine, the impact on Ukrainian gas price input of the completed pipeline could increase tensions between the two as Nord Stream 2 nears its completion by the end of 2019.

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