| 27 May 2024, Monday |

Ukraine crisis: Germany halts Nord Stream 2 approval

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz told reporters in Berlin on Tuesday, that Germany has taken steps to halt the process of certifying the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia in response to latter’s actions in Ukraine.
“That sounds technical, but it is the necessary administrative step so there can be no certification of the pipeline and without this certification, Nord Stream 2 cannot begin operating,” Scholz said.

The White House has welcomed Scholz’s announcement and said it would be following up with measures of its own.
The German chancellor labeled Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recognition of the separatist territories in eastern Ukraine “unjustified and incomprehensible.”

Speaking at a joint press conference with Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin, Scholz said Moscow needed to be held to account for its actions.

“Now it is down to the international community to respond to this unilateral, unjustified and incomprehensible action taken by the Russian president. We need to coordinate our approach … in order to send a clear signal to Moscow that activities of this kind cannot remain without consequences.”

Scholz said Germany’s energy needs would need to be reassessed by the relevant government authority.

“The department of the German ministry of economics will reassess the security of our supply needs in light of what has taken place.”

The German chancellor continued to push diplomacy as a way of averting what he called a “disaster.”

“In this phase it is important, apart from initial sanctions, to prevent a further escalation and with it a disaster. All of our diplomatic efforts will be aimed at achieving this.”
Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba was among those welcoming Germany’s decision to suspend certification of the pipeline.

“This is a morally, politically and practically correct step in the current circumstances,” the minister Tweeted. “True leadership means tough decisions in difficult times. Germany’s move proves just that.”
Poland’s Deputy Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczinski didn’t feel the measures went far enough. “This is better than nothing but far too little, one shouldn’t keep supplying funds to an aggressive state,” Kaczinski told members of the media on Tuesday.

Russian news agency Interfax cited Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying that Moscow regrets Germany’s suspension of the Nord Stream 2 certification. Interfax quoted Peskov as saying that the Kremlin hoped the delay was temporary.

Russia’s former president and deputy chair of Russia’s Security Council, Dmitry Medvedev, said the decision would come with a cost to Europeans.

“Oh well. Welcome to a new world where Europeans will soon be paying 2000 euros per cubic meter of gas!” Medvedev Tweeted.
Construction of the pipeline project has been completed, but the project still needed regulatory certification from German authorities before the gas could be delivered.

The pipeline has been a source of contention with the US, which has expressed concern that it increases European dependence on Russia for its energy needs.

Earlier this month US President Joe Biden said there would be no chance of the project going ahead if Russian tanks and troops crossed the Ukraine border.

In response to the latest development, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that the US had been in close consultation with Germany and welcomed the move.

“POTUS made clear that if Russia invaded Ukraine, we would act with Germany to ensure Nord Stream 2 does not move forward. We have been in close consultations with Germany overnight and welcome their announcement. We will be following up with our own measures today,” Psaki posted on Twitter.

  • DW