A deal brokered by US President Joe Biden that will allow the Russian-backed Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline to go ahead without sanctions has been heavily criticized in an open letter from dozens of current and former Ukrainian MPs.
The statement, published on Sunday by pro-NATO lobby group the Atlantic Council, said that the White House’s deal “jeopardizes the considerable US assistance that has been invested in transatlantic security and Ukraine’s transformation, and foresees no effective security guarantees for the countries affected by the project.”
According to the statement, Washington’s “decision on Nord Stream 2, announced in late July, rewards Russian President Vladimir Putin with tens of billions of dollars for the Russian state budget at a time when Russia spends billions to fund malign activities in the United States and pursue military aggression against Ukraine.”
In July, Biden struck a deal with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, agreeing to let the pipeline go ahead in exchange for a series of assurances from Berlin. As part of the commitments, the German government will fund a series of green economy initiatives in Ukraine, and work to ensure that Kiev keeps the billions of dollars in gas transit revenues it currently receives from Moscow even after Nord Stream 2 is completed.
Already in its final stages of construction, the project will link the gas fields of Siberia to consumers in Western Europe via an underwater link passing through the Baltic Sea to Northern Germany. Its developers say it will double the capacity of the first Nord Stream pipeline and provide enough gas to supply 26 million households across Europe. Nine states have either been consulted or have granted the necessary permits for its construction.
While it has been the subject of years of sanctions and political pressure, the Biden administration has admitted that the steps were failing to stop construction and only risked worsening relations with its ally, Germany.
The authors of the letter – which include scores of politicians who have served in the Ukrainian parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, as well as journalists and NGO leaders – believe that the Biden administration is “obliged to change its position” to protect Ukraine and Europe from “Russian influence.”
Russia maintains that the pipeline is essential for European energy security and has blasted sanctions in the past as a tool of undue political influence. A number of analysts have also claimed that Washington’s real interest in blocking the pipeline is to increase the competitiveness of shale gas shipped in from the US.
The Atlantic Council is listed as an undesirable organization in Russia.
Credit: RT News