President Volodymyr Zelensky sees the similarities between the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline and the illegal occupation of Crimea by Russia, and believes that the Russian side will use Nord Stream 2 as a lever to realize its interests in the Donetsk regions and of Luhansk.
“I think Nord Stream 2 is no different from the annexation of Crimea. I will explain why. The war was started in eastern Ukraine in order to take Crimea and be able to negotiate, so the Crimea issue is a bit “forgotten”, “Zelensky said in an interview with the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
According to him, now the Russians are sticking to the same scenario, they have constant levers to negotiate.
In particular, he pointed out, Russia had been issuing passports to Crimea for many years, Crimea still had Ukrainian and Russian passports, and then Crimea was apparently annexed to protect the Russians. Later, the war in eastern Ukraine was started so that the Crimea issue would be forgotten. At the same time, the head of state noted that Russian passports are currently being distributed in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions and around 300,000 passports have already been issued.
“In addition, to negotiate for the Donbass, to make us forgive the separatists, to ensure Russian control over the results of local elections, etc., the stakes should be raised. Nord Stream 2 is an asset now. Really, they have a royal flush on their hands, which is also partially supported by Europe. If they complete the construction of Nord Stream 2, it will pose a threat to the energy security of Ukraine and Europe, ”the President stressed.
If the Russians complete the technical work of Nord Stream 2 this year, the project will be launched in two or three years, he noted.
“This is all done to prevent Ukraine from getting the next contract. To be more precise, they will already use this lever in the issue of Donbass, ”Zelensky is convinced.
At the same time, the Head of State felt that it would be great for Europe and the United States to be partners and co-owners of the Ukrainian GTS.
As reported, US President Joe Biden reaffirmed his administration’s earlier decision to lift sanctions against Nord Stream 2 despite a strong backlash from Congress.
On May 28, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Slovak Prime Minister Eduard Heger said in a joint meeting that the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project is undermining energy solidarity between European states.
Ukraine’s NJSC Naftogaz called on all parties concerned to oppose the lifting of sanctions on Nord Stream 2.