Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Tuesday that Germany may consider stopping the Nord Stream 2 project if Russia strikes Ukraine, as pressure mounted on his government to adopt a more aggressive position against Moscow.
Following the failure of last week’s discussions between Russia and the West, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg met with Scholz in Berlin to discuss the future steps.
The Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which runs from Russia to Germany and is planned to provide additional Russian gas to Western Europe, has been on Scholz’s list of possible penalties in the case of a Russian assault on Ukraine.
His description of the pipeline, which has already been constructed but has not yet been given the green light to begin operations, as a private commercial initiative that should not be singled out for penalties has been criticised by some analysts.
A three-way government coalition led by his Social Democrats is under pressure in Berlin to find a means to cover the energy gap created by Germany’s move away from coal and nuclear power generation in favour of cleaner sources of energy.
Ukraine and the United States are among the many countries that oppose Nord Stream 2, claiming that it would place Europe at the mercy of Russia’s energy supply.
The possibility of military action in Ukraine, Scholz said in response to a query from the media, “clearly” comes with a huge price tag, and he said everything would have to go through due process.
Because it must be approved by EU officials before moving further, Germany may have little say in the project’s final outcome. Foreign policy leader of the European Union Josep Borrell said last week that EU permission was attached to any fight with Russia over the Ukraine.
NATO-RUSSIA COMMUNICATIONS ARE EXPANDING.
It was announced that NATO partners and Russia had been called to a second round of meetings at the NATO-Russia Council, after an unsuccessful first round of discussions in two years last week, to explore measures to improve the security situation.
On the joint press conference, he said that NATO’s partners are ready to discuss specific recommendations for reducing military risks and increasing openness about military actions, as well as reducing space and cyber threats.
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This sharing of information on exercises and our different nuclear strategies is also ready to resume.
There is no evidence that Russia has any intentions to strike Ukraine, according to Russian officials. Moscow, on the other hand, has threatened to take unspecified military measures if its demands are not satisfied, including a guarantee by NATO to never accept Kyiv.
It was impossible for German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock not to consider the Russian military buildup near Ukraine’s borders a “threat” earlier on Tuesday when visiting Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow.
According to Lavrov, Russia “raised the attention of our German colleagues to the counter-productiveness of efforts to politicise this project,” suggesting that Nord Stream 2 will improve energy security for both Germany and Europe.