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Is Russia going to blackmail Germany’s Angela Merkel over Nord Gas Pipe Line?

Last year Mrs Merkel informed Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky on her final visit to Kyiv before leaving office that she understood his reservations over the Nord Stream 2 project.

Mr. Zelensky opposes the pipeline, which he claims poses a security threat to Ukraine.

It will travel beneath the Baltic Sea and increase Russian gas deliveries to Germany by double.

Ukraine is concerned that the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which is being built by Russia, could tighten Moscow’s grip on the region’s energy supply and boost its influence.

Mr Zelensky denounced the idea as a “geopolitical weapon of the Kremlin” that would be “destructive for all of Europe” during a joint press conference on 22 August 2021.

Mrs Merkel, who is stepping down as Germany’s chancellor after 16 years in office this September, said Berlin and Washington have agreed that Nord Stream 2 should not be used against Ukraine.

If gas was “used as a weapon,” she warned, sanctions may be employed against Moscow under a German-US accord.

Mr Zelensky expressed concern about what would happen when the contract to deliver Russian gas through Ukrainian pipes expires in three years. The loss of billions in transit fees would be devastating to Ukraine’s economy.

Mrs Merkel agreed to donate more than a billion dollars to help Ukraine’s renewable energy sector flourish during a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on 20 August 2021.

Russia currently supplies about 40% of EU gas, just ahead of Norway, which is not a member of the EU but participates in its single market. The new pipeline will raise the volume of gas that passes beneath the Baltic to 55 billion cubic metres per year.

Mrs Merkel has attempted to reassure Central and Eastern European countries that the pipeline will not leave Germany energy-dependent on Russia.

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