Nord Stream 2 is a pipeline proposed to run under the Baltic Sea, delivering natural gas from the Russian Federation to Germany. Its purpose is to bypass Ukraine as a transit route for Russian natural gas, and to deprive the Ukrainian treasury of its greatest single source of income. Harming the economy of Ukraine and depriving Germany of energy supply diversity is the strategic goal of Nord Stream 2.
That the government of Germany goes along with Russia’s Nord Stream 2 corruption scheme is astonishing. But German government and Gazprom’s Western partners (Engie, Wintershall, OMV, Shell, Uniper) are now pretty much isolated in Europe. The majority of EU member countries are either opposed to or ambivalent about Nord Stream 2. The United States is threatening sanctions against Gazprom and Nord Stream 2 principals, to be consistent with American sanctions against the Russian energy sector – sanctions that were imposed because Russia invaded Ukraine.
On June 18, the President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, announced the creation of a lobby group in Brussels, to build support for the cancellation of Nord Stream 2. President Poroshenko said that construction of Nord Stream 2 will deprive Ukraine of up to $3 billion for the state budget, an amount that is equal to the country’s entire military expenditures. Ukraine is defending Europe against Russian war and aggression on a battlefront that stretches across the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine.
On June 19, the Polish Prime Minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, met with the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, in Berlin. One of the topics of discussion was the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which Germany has approved and which Poland vigorously opposes. Prime Minister Morawiecki said after the meeting that Nord Stream 2 “is a threat to Ukraine, and accordingly – to the whole of Europe. We also emphasize that de facto this means further monopolization rather than diversification of gas supplies.”
Poland is making a concerted diplomatic effort against Nord Stream 2. Being within the EU, Poland has a voice that Ukraine does not.
Opposition from Ukraine – the moral leader of Europe because it is the only active fighter against Russian aggression – should be enough to kill Nord Stream 2. Unfortunately, it is not. But pressure from most EU countries, led by Poland, tips the balance. Pressure from the European Commission tips it even more. Pressure from threatened US sanctions tips it even more.
Germany compromises its moral standing at the heart of Europe by backing Putin’s war financing project, Nord Stream 2. It is still possible that the German government will come to its senses and realize that Nord Stream 2 is not needed by Europe for natural gas supply or for any other reason. Its only purpose is to harm Ukraine. Germany will once again be the champion of European unity if it rings the death knell for Nord Stream 2.