Time to stop Nord Stream 2 now: open letter by Ukrainian politicians, leaders

Observers concluded that Russia is weaponizing gas supplies and using its dominant position on the European Union gas market to send a political message that Europe would face gas shortages if the Nord Stream 2 pipeline is not completed. But instead of being punished for such behavior, Moscow is being awarded with the lifting of all political obstacles to Nord Stream 2’s completion.

Observers concluded that Russia is weaponizing gas supplies and using its dominant position on the European Union gas market to send a political message that Europe would face gas shortages if the Nord Stream 2 pipeline is not completed. But instead of being punished for such behavior, Moscow is being awarded with the lifting of all political obstacles to Nord Stream 2’s completion. 

International

Editor’s Note

This open letter is signed by dozens of Ukrainian politicians, CEOs, and experts in response to US President Biden’s decision to waive congressionally-mandated sanctions on Nord Stream AG, a company building the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline, as well as on its executive Matthias Warnig, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Nord Stream 2, a pipeline that would take gas from the Russian Arctic under the Baltic Sea to Germany, bypassing Ukraine’s gas transit system, is more than 95% complete. Without a halt in its construction, it is expected to start operation this year. Critics maintain that if Ukraine loses its status as a transit country and there will be no Russian gas flow through Ukraine, Russia will have no losses when it invades the country, during which gas infrastructure can be destroyed. It raises the chances of such a scenario in the future.

Russian gas pipelines Nord Stream (Nord Stream 1) and Nord Stream 2 (under construction). Image: gazprom.com

Russian gas pipelines Nord Stream (Nord Stream 1) and Nord Stream 2 (under construction). Image: gazprom.com

Although the Biden Administration had previously said that Nord Stream 2 is a Russian geopolitical project that threatens European energy security, as well as that of Ukraine and eastern flank NATO states, it decided that waiving the sanctions, which have bipartisan support in the US Congress, is in the US national interests.

Open Letter: The Time to Stop Nord Stream 2 is Now

Nord Stream 2 remains a major geostrategic threat to Ukraine and Europe. We call on stakeholders in Washington, Berlin, and Brussels in a position of authority and responsibility to apply all means necessary to stop this project.

On May 19, the U.S Department of State submitted a report to Congress pursuant to the Protecting Europe’s Energy Security Act (PEESA), and we found ourselves gravely alarmed by the decision to “waive the application of sanctions on Nord Stream 2 AG, its CEO Matthias Warnig, and Nord Stream 2 AG’s corporate officers.” This is a wrong signal to send when Ukraine has just faced a major military buildup on its border, and the peacemaking process to end the occupation of Crimea and stop the war in Donbas has stalled.

U.S. President Joe Biden called Nord Stream 2 out precisely for what it is – a “bad deal for Europe” that, if built, will “lock in great reliance on Russia [which] will fundamentally destabilize Ukraine.” The commitment to stop Nord Stream 2 was echoed by Antony Blinken, the Secretary of State, during the confirmation hearing. Blinken did not mince words and affirmed that he was “determined to do whatever I can to prevent that [Nord Stream 2] completion,” reiterating that Biden “would have us use every persuasive tool that we have to convince our friends and partners including Germany not to move forward with it.”

We support the U.S. and European calls on Germany to help stop this Russian geopolitical project. Indeed, it is time for Berlin to take a firm position against Nord Stream 2 and work with its U.S. and European allies to ensure that pipe-laying activity in the Baltic Sea ceases. This diversionary pipeline threatens European unity, contradicts the climate goals, and subverts the E.U.’s common energy policy. Thus, its completion can’t be permitted.

The European Parliament voted decisively to demand a halt to construction. The U.S. Congress has targeted the project with several rounds of sanctions, which effectively dissuaded several major companies from participating in Nord Stream 2. Absent a forceful action by the German Government to terminate this ill-fated pipeline, the U.S. sanctions remain the only mechanism holding Kremlin back from realizing its core geopolitical objective, boosting its malign influence across Europe, and decisively weakening Ukraine’s defense posture. We firmly believe that if Nord Stream 2 was already completed and operational, Russia would have escalated its aggression towards Ukraine.

To stop Nord Stream 2, the United States does not need to adopt new measures: it must simply apply its existing, mandatory sanctions, which Congress passed with overwhelming bipartisan majorities as part of this year’s and last year’s National Defense Authorization Acts. While the brunt of the executive authority available under the current sanctions laws has not been fully leveraged, Russia is working to finish the pipeline with its own vessels and support from some non-Russian companies.

The Kremlin expects Germany to negotiate a deal with the United States, in which the full application of sanctions will be avoided. This cannot be allowed. Too many times in history, grand bargains were struck at the expense of Central & Eastern Europe—and we have all paid dearly for it. By hesitating to apply existing laws and impose sanctions on companies currently involved in Nord Stream 2 pipe-laying, the United States is sending a dangerous message to Russia, one that will affect Russian behavior far beyond Nord Stream 2.

We continue to count on Ukraine’s friends and allies in Washington, Brussels, and Berlin to terminate this pipeline of deception once and for all. With thousands of Russian troops still massed on our borders, no single, non-military action would do more to protect Ukraine against Russian aggression than stopping Nord Stream 2.

Oleksandr Aliksiichuk Member of Ukrainian Parliament
Volodymyr Ariev Member of Ukrainian Parliament, European Solidarity
Olga Bielkova Corporate Affairs Director, GTSOU, Member of Ukrainian Parliament (2012-2020)
Larіsa Bilozir Member of Ukrainian Parliament
Solomiia Bobrovska Member of Ukrainian Parliament
Ielizaveta Bohutskaya Ukrainian Parlament
Olena Bozhenko Teacher
Nataliya Boyko Member of Supervisory Board, Naftogaz of Ukraine
Yegor Cherniev Member of Ukrainian Parliament
Ahtem Chiygoz Member of Ukrainian Parliament
Kostyantyn Chyzhyk Ex Deputy Minister of Energy and Environmental protection
Sofiya Fedyna Member of Ukrainian Parliament
Iryna Friz Member of Ukrainian Parliament
Pavlo Frolov Member of Ukrainian Parliament
Iryna Geraschenko Member of Ukrainian Parliament, the European Solidarity faction, Co-Head
Mykhailo Gonchar President of the CGS Strategy XXI
Dmitry Grachev Member of Ukrainian Parliament
Dmytro Gurin Member of Ukrainian Parliament
Myroslav Hai Myr & Co Charitable Foundation
Vadym Halaichuk Member of Ukrainian  parliament
Hanna Hopko ANTS Network
Mariia Ionova Member of Ukrainian Parliament
Natalie Jaresko Minister of Finance of Ukraine 2014-2016
Volodymyr Kabachenko Member of Ukrainian Parliament, Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine
Oleksandr Kachura Member of Ukrainian Parliament
Daria Kaleniuk Anti corruption Action Centre
Yuriy Kamelchuk Member of Ukrainian Parliament
Serhiy Kiral Member of Ukrainian Parliament (2014-2019)
Maksym Khylko Chairman at the East European Security Research Initiative Foundation
Pavlo Klimkin Co-founder, Centre for National Resilience and Development
Yulia Klymenko Member of Ukrainian Parliament
Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze Member of the Parliament of Ukraine, Chair, Committee of Ukraine’s Integration into the EU
Mykola Kniazhytskyi Member of Ukrainian Parlament
Olena Kondratiuk Vice-Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine
Vira Konstantynova Ex Adviser to the Chairman of the Ukrainian Parliament (IX convocation)
Roman Kostenko Member of Ukrainian Parliament
Olena Kravchenko Director, Environment – People – Law (EPL)
Yevheniia Kravchuk Member of Ukrainian Parliament
Roman Lozynskyi Member of Ukrainian Parliament
Sergiy Makogon CEO, Gas TSO of Ukraine
Roman Motychak Ukrainian Financial Forum coordinator
Valentyn Nalyvaichenko Member of Ukrainian Parliament
Dmytro Natalukha Chairman of the Economic Affairs Committee of the Parliament of Ukraine, MP
Dr. Thomas O’Donnell Adjunct Faculty, Hertie School of Governance-Berlin & Senior Energy and Geopolitical Analyst @ GlobslBarrel.com
Volodymyr Ogrysko Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine (2007 – 2009)
Volodymyr Omelyan Minister of Infrastructure of Ukraine in 2016-19, member of Central Council, Political Party “European Solidarity”
Oleksii Orzhel Ex Minister of energy and environment protection
Andrii Osadchuk MP at Verhovna Rada (Parliament) of Ukraine
Tetiana Ostrikova Member of Ukrainian Parliament of the 8th Convocation
Rostyslav Pavlenko Member of Ukrainian Parliament
Olena Pavlenko DiXi Group
Yevhen Petruniak Member of Ukrainian Parliament
Nataliya Pipa Member of Ukrainian Parliament, Golos
Viktoriya Podgorna Member of Ukraine Parliament
Zenon Potoczny President, Canada Ukraine Chamber of  Commerce
Mykyta Poturaiev Member of Ukrainian Parliament
Victoria Ptashnyk Member of Ukrainian Parliament, 8th convocation
Sergii Rakhmanin Member of Ukrainian Parliament
Oleksii Riabchyn Energy and EU Green deal Advisor to Deputy Prime-Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration of Ukraine Olga Stefanishyna
Pavlo Rizanenko Member of Ukrainian Parliament, 2012-2019
Kira Rudyk Leader of the “Holos Party”
Oleksandr Sanchenko Member of Ukrainian Parliament
Yaroslava Simonova Educatress of Mlyniv State Technological and Economic College
Viktoria Siumar Member of Ukrainian Parliament
Andriy Sharaskin Golos
Alona Shkrum Member of Ukrainian parliament, Committee on tax and banking
Iryna Sulikovska Master of Ukrainian embroidery and dolls
Oleksandr Sushko Executive Director, International Renaissance Foundation
Yaroslav Sydorovych National Interests advocacy network “ANTS” Founder and Board membe
Tetyana Tsyba Member of Ukrainian Parliament
Andreas Umland Senior Expert of the Ukrainian Institute for the Future
Oleksandra Ustinova The Member of the Parliament of Ukraine
Lesia Vasylenko Parliament of Ukraine
Yuriy Vitrenko CEO, National Company “Naftogaz of Ukraine”
Serhii Vysotskyi journalist, member of Ukrainian Parliament (2014-2019)
Yelyzaveta Yasko Member of Ukrainian Parliament
Ostap Yednak ANTS NETWORK
Ivan Yunakov Member of Ukrainian Parliament
Yaroslav Yurchyshyn Member of Ukrainian Parliament
Oksana Yurynets Member of Ukrainian Parliament
Oksana Yurynets Member of Ukrainian Parliament
Svitlana Zalishchuk Advisor to the Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine
Iaroslav Zhelezniak The Member of Ukrainian Parliament, the Head of political party “Golos” faction
Oleksii Zhmerenetskyi Member of Ukrainian Parliament
Andrii Zhupanyn Member of Ukrainian Parliament

 

You can sign the open letter here.

First published on Kyiv Post

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