KYIV, Sept 4 – Ukraine urged the European Union on Friday to abandon support for the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline project to punish Russia for the poisoning of opposition leader Aleksei Navalny.
Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said this and other potential sanctions would be the proper tools to punish Russia for its aggressive policies.
"Everyone who opposes Russia's aggressive policy should use effective mechanisms of influence on this country, including the application of sanctions and a review of the policy regarding the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline," Kuleba said during an online briefing on Friday.
Navalny, a vocal critic of President Vladimir Putin, is currently in a coma at a Berlin hospital being treated for the poisoning by Novichok, a nerve agent. He collapsed on a plane while traveling from Tomsk to Moscow.
Nord Stream 2 will double the capacity of the existing Nord Stream 1 pipeline from Russia to Germany and may help Moscow cut gas supplies via Ukraine cutting its gas transit revenue.
Led by Russia’s Gazprom with Western partners, the project is more than 90% completed and scheduled to operate from early 2021, which could make it hard to stop.
German lawmakers last week called on the German government to reconsider support for the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which is planned to ship Russian natural gas to Germany via the Baltic Sea.
The German government has so far refused to take any steps to delay the construction of Nord Stream 2 despite numerous facts of Russia’s increasingly aggressive behavior both, domestically and internationally. Ukraine has so far tried unsuccessfully to change the German position on the pipeline.
"I want to reaffirm that the Ukrainian government is grateful to Germany for the decisive and consistent support of Ukraine in countering Russian aggression, but, unfortunately, there is discrepancy in our relationship, and we do not hide it, this discrepancy is called Nord Stream 2. And Ukraine is not the only country. This project causes rejection and denial. We understand that if it is completed Russia will receive additional opportunities to earn huge money and invest them then, in particular, in their aggressive actions both in the middle of the country and outside it. Therefore, it is time to approach this issue very comprehensively and, finally, to take measures that will maximize the price for Russia for its actions," Kuleba said.
Kuleba also said the crime of the poisoning of Navalny should not go unpunished.
"We proceed from the premise that this crime should not go unpunished, since the events since 2014, and you can dig even deeper - since 2008, when Russia attacked Georgia, logic shows us that impunity only encourages the Russian Federation to new aggressive actions and new crimes," he said.
He stressed that in accordance with the Convention on Chemical Weapons, of which the Russian Federation is also a signatory, poisoning a person with a nerve agent is the use of chemical weapons and a gross violation of international law. (tl/ez)