The head of Ukraine’s state-owned energy company has revealed that he believes stopping the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline is a matter of “life and death,” stating that Russia’s reliance on Kiev protects it from “aggression”.
Writing on Facebook, Andrey Kobolyev, the boss of Naftogaz, claimed that Nord Stream 2 is a tool to “make Ukraine defenseless.”
“While Ukraine is important for transmitting gas to Germany, Italy, and France, the Ukrainian Gas Transmission System is part of our defense,” Kobolyev wrote, noting that the country’s pipes will become useless once Russia can transfer gas without going through Ukraine.
“Then, our country will become much more vulnerable to Russian aggression,” he said. “That is why stopping Nord Stream-2 is, without exaggeration, a matter of life or death for our citizens.”
His comments were directed at Russian President Vladimir Putin, who on Wednesday called the opposition of Western leaders to the pipeline a way “to make Russia pay for their geopolitical project in Ukraine.”
Once complete, Nord Stream 2 will connect Germany directly to Russia, enabling gas to travel to the European Union, bypassing Ukraine. This means that transit will no longer rely on third countries and should lead to lower prices. Every year, Moscow reportedly sends billions of dollars to Kiev to use its pipeline system.
In recent weeks, politicians from the United States and the European Union have discussed imposing new sanctions against the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, aimed at completely stopping the project. Any extra measures would be in addition to the multitude of restrictions already implemented by Washington, which has long wanted to end its construction as a means to protect the European market for American liquefied natural gas.
On Sunday, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak revealed that construction is already more than 95% complete. At present, the vessel Fortune is laying the pipeline in Danish territorial waters.
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