After threats of sanctions and economic retaliation eventually the United States of Joe Biden have reached an agreement with Berlin that will allow the completion of Nord Stream 2, the second gas pipeline that will directly connect Russia with Germany, avoiding transit through Poland and Ukraine. And Warsaw and Kiev went on a rampage, considering the agreement a favor to Vladimir Putin, and a disgrace towards them.
The German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who last week had met Biden in Washington also to discuss the matter, spoke instead of “a good step”, explaining that the agreement does not in itself imply the end of all differences regarding the controversial project, but represents an attempt to set certain conditions. “The United States and Germany are united in their determination to hold Russia accountable for its aggression and malicious activities by imposing costs through sanctions and other instruments,” they said in a joint statement, referring to the annexation of Crimea by of the Russian Federation and support for the Dombass separatists. “If Russia attempts to use energy as a weapon or commits further aggressive acts against Ukraine, Germany will act nationally and push for effective measures at the European level, including sanctions, to limit Russian export capabilities to Europe. “, is guaranteed in the text.
The Nord Stream 2 project posed a major foreign policy dilemma for the Biden administration. US officials have long feared that it would give Moscow too much power over European gas supplies, and potentially cut off Ukraine and Poland from supplies. But the pipeline, which cost over 9 billion euros, is now 98% completed and the US is determined to rebuild the links with Germany that were damaged during the Trump administration. The work for Berlin is fundamental for the energy needs of the nation which, after renouncing nuclear energy, will also have to reduce the use of coal to comply with European limits on greenhouse gas emissions. The German government had therefore always resolutely resisted international pressure, eventually forcing Biden to give in.
To try to placate the criticisms, Merkel also pledged to finance the green transition of Ukraine with a billion dollar fund and to negotiate with Moscow an extension beyond 2024 of the transit of Russian gas through the territory of Kiev, with the target of a ten-year extension. All issues discussed by Merkel herself in a phone call with the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, who expressed satisfaction with the closure of the affair. However, reassurances were not enough in Kiev. The foreign ministers of Ukraine and Poland, Dmytro Kuleba e Zbigniew Rau, meeting in the capital of the former Soviet republic, said that “such a decision has created further political, military and energy threats for Ukraine and Central Europe as a whole”.
“The decision to build Nord Stream 2 made in 2015 a few months after Russia invaded and illegally annexed the Ukrainian territory (Crimea, ed), created a security, credibility and political crisis in Europe” , a joint note of the two reads, a crisis that “is considerably aggravated by the resignation from the attempts to stop the launch of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline”, which is added to the one already completed and whose work began in 2011. “Unfortunately, the proposals to cover the resulting security deficit cannot be considered sufficient to limit the threats created by NS2. We ask the United States and Germany to adequately address the security crisis in our region, of which Russia is the only beneficiary ”, the two countries continue, promising to continue working together with their partners to continue“ opposing ”the project.