Nord Stream 2 became western tool to pressure Russia: Diplomat
Russia is facing the threat of having its Nord Stream 2 shut down, and though it would harm the EU, it is willing to go for it and harm its interests for Washington.
In light of rising tensions between Brussels and Moscow, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Wednesday the European Union was ready to tolerate everything to harm Russia.
The Nord Stream 2 issue is being turned into a pressure tool for Washington to leverage Moscow, the diplomat added after US President Joe Biden said Monday the pipeline would not be launched if Russian troops cross the border with Ukraine.
"Nord Stream 2 has long turned into an instrument of pressure on Moscow in the hands of the United States and some figures outside the United States," Ryabkov told reporters.
"This is a reflection, unfortunately, of the realities that have developed in Europe, NATO, and the EU, where not only there is no independence, but simply no attempts are made to assess their own interests and weigh them correctly in the long term," he added, noting that the same thing was constantly repeated.
"People flaunt that they are ready to endure any hardships, just to harm Moscow. This is the essence of the policy of the West and, in particular, the European Union."
Is the US ready for serious talks on NATO expansion?
Moscow wants to understand whether Washington is ready to take to the negotiations table seriously and discuss Russia's proposals on security guarantees, in particular, the non-expansion of NATO, Ryabkov stressed.
Bloomberg had reported in early February that the United States had informed Russia of its desire to discuss means of verification that no Tomahawk cruise missile be stationed in Poland or Romania in exchange for similar information on Russian soil.
Moscow has taken into consideration the measures of transparency, confidence building, and risk reduction, but the American proposal is not the main concern of Russia's, "because the main thing for us is to understand whether the other side is ready" to talk seriously about the non-expansion of NATO, Ryabkov told reporters.
According to Ryabkov, Russia is also focused on the alliance's return to the situation as of 1997 when the two parties signed the founding act, and the rest depends on those factors.
If the talks on security proposals evaluate into a more substantive, in-depth, and result-oriented discussion and, in the long term, the solution of these main tasks, the diploma said the situation with the US proposal for these inspections would be different.
Situation in German gas facilities concerning: Berlin
As Germany and the United States threaten Russia with Nord Stream 2, the German Economy Ministry said the situation with the filling of gas storage facilities is a cause for concern.
"Gas is supplied to us primarily through pipelines. Here contracts are fulfilled, and, of course, we are monitoring the situation with gas storages, and it, of course, causes concern," the ministry said.
A ministry spokesperson said the German storage capacity was filled by 35-36%, though he argued that a decision to increase gas was a "market-related issue" and does not depend on the state.