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Ukraine goes to Washington in last-ditch bid to halt Russia’s Nord Stream 2 project

While the project is not yet done, V.Zelensky and Naftogaz are trying to rally the West to at least get firmer agreements from Moscow before the pipeline is completed.
Russia has said the project, 95% complete could go online this autumn.

Ukraine goes to Washington in last-ditch bid to halt Russia’s Nord Stream 2 project

Kiev, June 10 - Neftegaz.RU. As the main state-owned company on the front lines of defending Ukraine’s energy security, Naftogaz’s CEO and 2 of his advisers are in Washington, in a last-ditch bid to keep Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline from being completed, Kiyv Post reported.
Naftogaz spokesman Maksym Biliavsky said that:
  • The main goal of the Naftogaz delegation is to convince the U.S. senators to submit new legislative changes that will require the application of U.S. sanctions directly against Nord Stream 2 AG and the company’s managers
The delegation’s trip comes after President V.Zelensky criticized U.S. President Joe Biden for waiving sanctions against the main company involved in the construction of the $11 billion pipeline capable of carrying up to 55 billion m3 directly from Russia to Germany, bypassing Ukraine.

When combined with the existing Nord Stream pipeline, the Russian-German transit capacity doubles to 110 billion m3, prompting fears that Russia will no longer pump gas through Ukraine’s pipeline when a current agreement expires at the start of 2025.
Under the agreement, the Kremlin must send at least 40 billion m3 of gas yearly through Ukraine, bringing about $7 billion in transit fees over the life of the 5-year contract.

Speaking from Washington, Naftogaz CEO Yuriy Vitrenko told Ukrainian television channel ICTV that the company is collecting evidence of Gazprom’s dominance on the EU gas market.
He complained that the Russian gas company hasn’t let gas sourced from Central Asia through Ukraine.
Vitrenko said:
  • It was necessary to establish new facts of violations, file a complaint with the European anti-monopoly [anti-trust] authority and submit to a new [international] arbitration [court]
  • This is what we are doing now
Serhiy Makohon, who heads the Ukrainian state-owned Gas Transmission Operator, said:
  • The cost could be several billions of dollars a year for Ukraine when the loss in transit fees is combined with the need to pay transit fees for gas from Germany
The previous U.S. presidential administration of Trump toughened sanctions on the project, but Biden approved waivers on the company that heads the project.
Speaking to White House reporters on May 25, Biden said it would «be counterproductive in terms of our European relations and I hope we can work on how they handle it from this point on».

Yet with no assurances on how Ukraine’s transit status could be enforced, Zelensky said he was surprised and disappointed by the U.S. president’s move.
Zelensky said:
  • This is a weapon, a real weapon … in the hands of the Russian Federation…
  • It is not very understandable … that the bullets to this weapon can possibly be provided by such a great country as the United States
3 days later, Zelensky and Biden spoke over the phone during which the U.S. voiced «unwavering…support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity».
The Ukrainian readout of the conversation said that:
  • Biden was against the implementation of the Nord Stream 2 project
  • “for his part, V.Zelensky emphasized Joe Biden’s attention to the fact that Nord Stream 2 is not an economic project.
  • It poses a serious threat and is a security challenge, and must be viewed in terms of security guarantees for Ukraine
Zelensky was invited to meet in the White House after Biden’s June 16 meeting with Putin in Geneva, Switzerland.

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