News Digest: Nord Stream 2 Pipeline

June 2021

The Nord Stream 2  is an underwater pipeline that would transport natural gas from Russia directly to Germany. The completion of this pipeline would lead to greater Russian expansion into Europe with increased dependence on Russian natural gas. The United States recently removed sanctions it had previously imposed upon Russia and companies working on the pipeline, allowing for the construction to complete by mid-2021. There is great outcry against Russia’s growing influence in Europe, with Ukraine and Poland in particular calling out supporters of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline as supporting the Kremlin’s political and economic expansion into Europe while ignoring the human rights violations and hacking going on in Russia currently. The pipeline is an unnecessary addition to Europe as there is more than enough natural gas already flowing in to meet demand alongside the liquified natural gas (LNG) imported from the United States. The Biden Administration is being called out to stand up to both Germany and Russia and to stand alongside its European allies in deterring the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipe once and for all. 

https://www.heritage.org/europe/report/nord-stream-2-threat-transatlantic-security

As the final touches are being put on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, Poland and Ukraine continue to criticize moves made by the U.S. President Biden. U.S. officials have announced talks with Germany and Russia to provide natural gas to Ukraine and Eastern European states even with the completion of the Nord Stream 2. However, Gazprom, the leading Russian natural gas company, may begin cutting gas flows in Poland as its transit agreement begins to expire, hurting Poland economically. Polish foreign minister Zbigniew Rau highlighted how President Biden ignored Poland and its other European allies in favor of Germany, hurting much of Europe. 

https://www.upstreamonline.com/production/pre-commissioning-begins-on-controversial-nord-stream-2-gas-pipeline/2-1-1023944

After the removal of sanctions on Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline, 68 Republicans from the House of Representatives sent a letter to the Biden administration opposing this act. The lawmakers warned President Biden of becoming too close of an ally to Russian President Vladimir Putin, denoting that the Nord Stream 2 pipeline is a gift to Russia. It allows for expanded geopolitical power and questions the commitment the United States has made to its European allies. Furthermore, the Representatives  questioned President Biden’s opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline that aimed to benefit Americans more than the Nord Stream 2 pipeline and prioritized American energy over Russian. 

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/biden-russia-nord-stream-pipeline-gop-letter

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky likened U.S. President Joe Biden to former NBA player Michael Jordan, comparing the two’s ability of using secret tricks to confuse opponents. After outcry over the removal of sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, President Biden has faced lots of criticism for his actions and for weakening his stance on Russia. However, President Zelensky announced his belief that the United States has a way of luring its opponents in and grabbing victory in the end, alluding to the fact that Russia will not win this international fight and that politicians must wait and see what tricks President Biden has up his sleeve. https://www.unian.info/economics/nord-stream-2-zelensky-says-biden-is-a-jordan-in-politics-11445322.html 

The head of Ukraine’s oil and gas company delivered a message to U.S. lawmakers in Washington, emphasizing how the completion of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline is a victory to the Kremlin and a loss to American credibility in Eastern Europe. Yuriy Vitrenko, the CEO of Ukraine’s Naftogaz, discussed how it looks like President Putin is getting away with bullying the West and that it will encourage similar behavior elsewhere around the world. Vitrenko urged the U.S. to reimpose sanctions to stop the completion of the pipeline and to stop any further Russian invasion into Europe.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-06-11/naftogaz-ceo-pressing-u-s-to-block-nord-stream-2-completion

Bartosz Cichocki, Polish Ambassador to Ukraine, announced in an interview with Glavcom that he hopes Ukraine starts working with Poland to become independent of Gazprom and Russia in the near future. Gazprom is a natural gas monopoly in Russia that is leading the Nord Stream 2 pipeline and Ukraine relies on the company for the transit revenues it receives for natural gas transportation. Cichocki discussed how Poland aims to become completely independent of Gazprom in the future by increasing the number of liquified natural gas (LNG) terminals to receive deliveries from the United States and building a pipeline from Norway to Poland. This will help mitigate the issues brought to Poland by the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, however Ukraine faces great losses that will need to be balanced once the pipe is completed.

https://www.ukrinform.net/rubric-economy/3258202-poland-ready-to-help-ukraine-become-independent-of-gazprom-ambassador.html

by PAC Intern Julia Rutkowski

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