Michael MacKay, Radio Lemberg, 07.04.2018
The United States sanctioned Alexey Miller, the Russian Gazprom monopolist. This is a massive rebuke to Germany and Finland, who earlier took the reckless step of approving the anti-Ukraine, anti-European Union corruption scheme known as Nord Stream 2.
On April 6, the US Treasury Department announced that it was placing under sanctions seven Russian oligarchs and 12 companies they own or control, 17 senior Russian government officials, and a state-owned Russian weapons trading company and its subsidiary, a Russian bank. The reason is simple: Russia is at war with the West, and it must be stopped. The Treasury Department communique singled out Russia’s malign activity around the world, including “continuing to occupy Crimea and instigate violence in eastern Ukraine, supplying the Assad regime with material and weaponry as they bomb their own civilians, attempting to subvert Western democracies, and malicious cyber activities.”
Alexey Miller is the Chairman of the Management Committee and Deputy Chairman of the Board of Directors of state-owned company Gazprom. He is sanctioned because he is not a normal businessman but an Russian government official and a key figure in the Putin-Kremlin crime syndicate. Gazprom is a major financier of Russia’s war against Ukraine. Nord Stream 2 is a project of the Russian war machine to kill Ukrainians.
On April 6, the European Commission announced again that it will not support the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. Speaking in Kyiv, the European Commission Director-General for Energy, Dominique Ristori, said that the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, if built, will go against EU principles of transparency and non-discrimination, and would diminish the free access of European consumers to diverse energy sources.
The European Commission recognizes that Nord Stream 2 would be detrimental to the EU’s strategy of security of supply. Diversification of natural gas transit and especially of sources is the key to Europe’s energy security. Russia wants to bribe its way to the construction of Nord Stream 2 for political reasons: to ruin Ukraine economically and to harm Europe’s energy security. The European Commission wants to stop Nord Stream 2 to stop Russia from doing those things.
The Prime Minister of Ukraine, Volodymyr Groysman, called Nord Stream 2 “Russia’s political project” – one which poses a threat to European democracy. On April 4, the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s parliament, passed Resolution No. 8111, an appeal to the world community to block construction of of Russia’s political project.
Ukraine’s Naftogaz is fresh from victories over Russia’s Gazprom. Naftogaz won a $2.56 billion judgement at the Stockholm Arbitration Tribunal in a dispute over natural gas transit, and Naftogaz got the better of Gazprom when the Russian monopoly unwisely started a gas war against Ukraine and the EU at the beginning of March. The CEO of Naftogaz, Andriy Kobolyev, presents compelling arguments and evidence that Nord Stream 2 contributes nothing to the diversification of natural gas supplies to the EU and it fails to introduce new sources of natural gas.
Nord Stream 2 is a stab to the heart of Europe.
The European Commission, Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and the United States know that Nord Stream 2 must be stopped. But Germany and Finland decided to go against their allies in democratic Europe, and side with the enemy in autocratic Eurasia: the governments of Germany and Finland approved Nord Stream 2.
Perhaps the Russia-compromised elites in Germany and Finland will now regret their reckless action in siding with Russia, the invader of Europe in Ukraine. The US cut off the heads of the corrupt Russian oil and gas sector. The US sanctioned Russian energy sector principals Vladimir Bogdanov, Oleg Deripaska, Igor Rotenberg, Kirill Shamalov, Viktor Vekselberg, Andrey Akimov, Sergey Fursenko, and most significantly Alexey Miller.
No one can do business with Alexey Miller or with Gazprom now. Nord Stream 2 should be dead already because it is a monstrous evil against Ukraine and the EU. Now, after US sanctions and European Commission objections and Ukrainian parliamentary appeals, it is time to close up shop on Russia’s weapon of war against the West known as Nord Stream 2.