Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy insisted the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline is a “dangerous weapon,” posing a threat not only to Ukraine but to all of Europe, despite attempts at reassurance from German Chancellor Angela Merkel today.
Ukraine is fiercely opposed to the pipeline, which will carry natural gas from Russia to Germany, bypassing former routes through Ukraine. Berlin has sought to assuage those fears, issuing a joint statement with Washington in July saying that if Russia attempts to use energy as a weapon or commits future “aggressive acts” against Ukraine, Germany will press for sanctions against Russia.
Merkel reiterated this pledge during a meeting with Zelenskiy in Kyiv today, saying “gas should not be used as a geopolitical weapon” and that sanctions would be on the table if Russia didn’t comply.
But Zelenskiy said during a joint press conference that “not to notice that this is a dangerous weapon, not only for Ukraine but for the whole of Europe, is wrong,” according to Reuters.
Merkel had also met Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday, announcing a five-year extension of Russia’s gas transit agreement with Ukraine — one of the commitments Merkel undertook in her July deal with U.S. President Joe Biden to allow the pipeline to be completed. Merkel also said Friday she would “fight until the last day in office to ensure that Ukraine’s territorial integrity can be guaranteed.”
But Zelenskiy appeared unconvinced by Merkel’s remarks during the press conference in Kyiv, saying: “As for the continuation of transit through Ukraine after 2024, I think that so far these things are too general.”
Want more analysis from POLITICO? POLITICO Pro is our premium intelligence service for professionals. From financial services to trade, technology, cybersecurity and more, Pro delivers real time intelligence, deep insight and breaking scoops you need to keep one step ahead. Email [email protected] to request a complimentary trial.