Ukraine critical to construction of new major Russian gas pipeline to Europe

Ukraine critical to construction of new major Russian gas pipeline to Europe

The new pipeline would supply an additional 55 billion cubic metres of natural gas a year from Russia to Germany.

Nordstream 2

Photo: Reuters

Today, Lithuania’s energy minister will visit Ukraine to discuss construction plans for the controversial Nord Stream pipeline, which would supply an additional 55 billion cubic metres of natural gas a year from Russia to Germany and double existing levels.

German lawmakers fully approved the construction of the pipeline last month after Chancellor Angela Merkel endorsed the endeavour as a purely “economic project” unlinked to geopolitics.

However, opposition to the pipeline remains entrenched. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, who just met for talks with the Chancellor on Tuesday, has referred to the deal as a “political bribe to Russia”; the Baltic states and US have echoed similar sentiments.

Ms Merkel’s faces pressure both to satisfy her constituents and work with Germany’s allies to put pressure on Moscow. Having recently been reelected on economic promises for the middle class, Ms Merkel is supporting a deal she believes would reduce energy costs for working families. At the same time, Russia remains one of Europe’s greatest suppliers of energy, accounting for almost 30% of Europe’s total natural gas imports. Going forward see what the Chancellor does to reassure German allies that the country remains committed on being “tough” on Moscow.

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