Germany: No Nord Stream 2 in case of "escalation" in Ukraine
The new German Foreign Minister says her country agreed with the US not to operate the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline in case of an "escalation" in Ukraine.
The Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia will not be allowed to operate in the event of any new "escalation" in Ukraine, under an agreement between Berlin and Washington, Germany's new Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said on Sunday.
"In the event of further escalation, this gas pipeline could not come into service," Baerbock told German television station ZDF, clarifying earlier threats made by Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
Baerbock was speaking after the G7 meeting on tensions with Russia and ahead of a sit-down with her European partners on Monday.
The new Foreign Minister pointed out that the pipeline "cannot be authorized for the time being anyway because it does not meet the rules of European energy legislation."
Scholz had earlier underlined during a visit to Poland that "it would be a serious mistake to believe that violating the borders of a European country would remain without consequences."
Fears of Russian "blackmailing"
The pipeline, which has been backed by Russian President Vladimir Putin on the one hand and by Scholz's predecessor Angela Merkel on the other in recent years, has been criticized by several sides.
The US and several Eastern European countries are worried that Europe is too dependent on Russia.
Moreover, Ukraine -- until now one of the major transit countries for Russian gas to Europe -- fears that it will be economically and diplomatically weakened by the project, which bypasses its territory.
Scholz said that Germany would "do anything" to ensure that Ukraine remains a transit country for Russian gas exports to Europe.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki asked Scholz to suspend the pipeline, claiming that Moscow would use it to "blackmail" Europe.
The call came as Scholz visited Warsaw for the first time since replacing Merkel last week, on his third foreign visit after Paris and Brussels.
Poland has long opposed the 10-billion-euro ($12-billion) pipeline, which is majority-owned by Russian gas giant Gazprom.
The 1,200-kilometer (745-mile) pipeline, which runs underwater from Russia's Baltic coast to northeastern Germany, was completed in September.
In mid-November, the German energy regulator suspended the certification procedure for Nord Stream 2 by requiring the Swiss-based consortium in charge of its operation to create a company under German law.
The US had earlier warned Russia to withdraw from the Ukrainian borders, warning that G7 and allies would impose "tough measures" if Moscow "abandons diplomacy".
Biden also said the United States would provide additional defense aid to Kiev beyond what it currently provides and support NATO allies in the Alliance's eastern flank.
On his part, Russian President Vladimir Putin confirmed that Moscow pursues a peaceful foreign policy but has every right to defend its security in the medium and long terms.