Michael MacKay, Radio Lemberg, 06.04.2018
Nord Stream 2 is a scheme by Russia to deprive Ukraine of natural gas transit revenue and destroy Europe’s energy security. Support or opposition to this effort of Russia’s corrupt monopoly Gazprom is becoming a test of the unity and moral integrity of Europe.
On April 5, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine made an appeal to the international community to block construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline from Russia to Germany, through the Baltic Sea. Resolution No. 8111 of Ukraine’s parliament noted that Russia itself had made the strongest argument against building Nord Stream 2 by launching a gas war at the beginning of March. The resolution noted: “Gazprom suddenly, with no notice, refused to supply gas to the domestic market of Ukraine, thus ignoring its contractual obligations... Market participants, industry experts, governments of Ukraine and other countries are sure that such actions of Gazprom are an attempt to use the international trade in energy resources as a coercive leverage.”
Ukraine urges the world community to ban construction of Nord Stream 2, and to impose individual sanctions on Gazprom principals and sectoral sanctions on Gazprom and the oil and gas industry in Russia as a whole. These are very reasonable requests, given that Russia is at war with Ukraine and has invaded Ukrainian territory of Crimea and part of Donbas. Nord Stream 2 is nothing more than a weapon of Russia’s war against Ukraine.
Tragically for the peace and security of Europe, Germany approved permits for Nord Stream 2 production on March 27. The German government ignores the objections of Ukraine and eastern members of the European Union, and proceeds with financing Russia’s war against Europe in Ukraine.
A second blow was dealt to peace and security in Europe on April 5, when Finland approved construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline through its exclusive economic zone in the Baltic Sea. Finland took this anti-Ukraine move even though the already-in-production Nord Stream 1 pipeline runs through Viipuri, the Finnish city that his been occupied by Russian invaders for 74 years.
Austria and the Netherlands support the anti-Ukraine pipeline in the Baltic Sea because they host the headquarters of multi-national corporations which hope to engage in war profiteering along with Gazprom and the Russians.
Denmark is sitting on the fence about whether to support Nord Stream 2 and betray Ukraine or not. The proposed Nord Stream 2 pipeline would go through Danish territorial waters. The government of Denmark is delaying making a decision. Sweden must also make a decision about transit of its exclusive economic zone, and so far the government of Sweden has been sending ambiguous signals about supporting Europe-defender Ukraine or supporting Europe-invader Russia.
Canada has made itself irrelevant. The government of Canada says it has the same concerns about Nord Stream 2 as Ukraine, but it refuses to take the morally consistent position of opposing construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.
Solid defenders of European energy security, along with Ukraine, are Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and the United States. The US has the potential to impose sanctions against Russian individuals and Russian entities like Gazprom that pose at threat to international peace and security. Sectoral sanctions against the Russian oil and gas industry would be one of the most effective measures to take to stop Putin’s war against the West, and in particular his invasion of Ukraine.
It’s not too late to stop the evil Nord Stream 2 scheme. Civilized countries should heed the appeal of the parliament of Ukraine. Russia showed its true colours with the gas war it launched against Ukraine and the EU in March. It’s not only that Russia is an unreliable partner. Russia is an enemy – Russia uses gas as a weapon to destroy the sovereignty of Ukraine and the energy security of Europe. Nord Stream 2 must die.