The pipeline of discord. In the midst of the global energy crisis which strengthens the hand of the Russian gas giant and while the price of blue gold soars, Kiev fears that the Europeans are accelerating the commissioning of a Russian-German gas pipeline, the Nord Stream 2, which would make it possible to supply Europe by bypassing Ukraine, depriving the country of lucrative transit rights in the process. Ukraine asked, Tuesday, October 12, at a summit with the European Union (EU), for more support to defend its interests against Moscow,
The Nord Stream 2, a gas pipeline with a capacity of 55 billion m3 annuals, has been completed and its filling started last week. He is only waiting for the green light from a German regulator. To show their support for this country weakened since 2014 by the Russian annexation of Crimea and a war with pro-Russian separatists, European Council leaders Charles Michel and the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen traveled to Kiev on Tuesday for there. meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
“Energy security is crucial” “
Nord Stream 2 “Poses new challenges for Ukraine on top of those which already existed”, complained Mr. Zelensky at a press conference after the summit. “Energy security is crucial for the independence of Ukraine (…). There is a need to develop a common long-term vision for Europe’s energy security ”, he added.
M. Michel and Mme von der Leyen have repeatedly asserted “Understand the concerns” from Ukraine and promised to “Strengthen cooperation”. EU and Kiev “Are studying different scenarios to ensure sufficient supply to Ukraine” who “Is and must remain a reliable transit country”, said Mme von der Leyen. She mentioned in particular the possibility of coordinating on the issue of gas stocks and even of supplying Ukraine from neighboring Slovakia, ” if necessary “.
The construction of the Russo-German tube threatens to deprive Ukraine, one of the poorest countries in Europe, of around one billion euros per year affected for the transit of Russian gas through its territory. For its detractors within the EU, this tube will increase European dependence on Moscow, which will use it as a geopolitical weapon. The Kremlin is already suspected by some of fueling the current soaring prices, by not opening the floodgates further, in order to speed up the commissioning of this gas pipeline.
“You can count on the EU”
Russia has denied any role in this crisis and has said it wants to stabilize prices. It is the European countries that “Made mistakes” by favoring cash purchases over long-term contracts, tackled Russian President Vladimir Putin last week. The Russian head of state nevertheless promised not to put Kiev “In a difficult position” by turning off the tap. But these words are far from reassuring Ukraine, which fears that Russia, in addition to Crimea, has additional territorial ambitions.
“You can count on the EU” to support Kiev, underlined Tuesday Mr. Michel. “Repeatedly and consistently, we condemn the illegal annexation of Crimea”, he added. However, beyond verbal support, Ukraine hopes for an acceleration of its process of joining the EU and NATO.
For their part, the Europeans are calling for more efforts in Kiev to reform, in particular its notoriously corrupt judicial system. However, these have been dragging on for years. Mme von der Leyen greeted on Tuesday the ” road traveled “, but called to “Stay focused on reforms”, fight against corruption and reduce the influence of the oligarchs. “It is clear that we are walking in the same direction, but where is the finish line? Is there only one? “, impatient Mr. Zelensky.