Alexander Rahr: Kiev’s noisy diplomacy ultimately lost

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said that Germany and the United States have found a “constructive solution” on the Nord Stream 2 issue. He said that Berlin and Washington intend to further support green energy in Ukraine and will work “to ensure gas transit through Ukraine in the next decade.” The end of the dispute between the United States and Germany over the completion of the construction of the Russian gas pipeline provoked a violent reaction from Ukraine. German political analyst Alexander Rahr spoke about what lessons Kiev should learn from this story in an interview with RG.

– The Germans have now made a commitment to the Americans that they will “try”, this is important because they cannot force anyone, but they will “try” to negotiate with Russia so that it still does not exclude Ukraine from the big game … In other words, so that some flows of Russian gas that go to the West would still go not only through the pipes of Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2, Turkish Stream, or through Belarus, but also through Ukraine. But this raises a lot of questions that currently have no answers.

First, the Ukrainian gas transmission network is morally outdated. Everyone knows this, including specialists, and this is not a question of anyone’s propaganda, it is a fact. Therefore, for the further functioning of the Ukrainian network, its modernization is necessary. We have not yet heard that the Germans were going to somehow modernize this old network for their money, which Ukraine may hope for. This issue was raised during the visit of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to Germany, and he demanded money insolently, as evidenced by the corresponding media reaction. As a result, the Ukrainian leadership is hysterical because their strategy has collapsed.

They were one hundred percent sure that America and Germany, together with Europe, would “finish off” Russia and break the Russian economy. And secondly, they proceeded from the fact that the Americans would shut down Nord Stream 2. This did not happen, and Ukrainians do not know what to do now. They did not suspect that they could be bypassed in some way. Kiev believed that Ukraine is the navel of the earth, that its interests will be taken into account in all respects, and now it turns out that America and Germany have other interests that are different from those of Ukraine. Namely, cooperation with Russia in other areas that do not concern energy at all. That is why neither US President Joe Biden, nor especially German Chancellor Angela Merkel want any energy conflicts with Russia, and cooperation will continue in the future.

In fact, Ukraine is now sitting at a broken trough and does not want to understand this, does not want to admit it. In fact, all Ukrainian diplomacy should have been dispersed, since it was aimed only at explaining to the West how bad Russia is. But we must understand that the West did not listen to Ukraine. And the only thing that Germany agreed to, during negotiations with the United States, is that it will not leave Kiev to its fate. And then, this “will not give up” – a purely theoretical question. This is a game against the clock on the part of the Germans and, in principle, on the part of the Americans. Because today there is no information, suspicions or indicators that Russia will stop pumping its gas through Ukraine. Russia, after all, also makes money from this, and then the current contract will be valid for another three years.

The whole situation, of course, is a tough absurdity. How is it possible in commercial transactions to force one country or structure to pump gas through the territory of a country that declares itself to be the enemy of its client? This is nonsense. In addition, one should not forget that Ukraine illegally pumped Russian gas in 2006 and 2009. Therefore, Russia had the right to build gas pipelines bypassing Ukraine and eventually won, these pipes will be laid. Ukraine has lost in this respect.

Another important point is that the Germans will not give Kiev money for nothing. As we understand it, Berlin and Washington have agreed to either provide Ukraine with loans or cooperation in the field of new energy technologies, the same hydrogen. But here, too, there is a game against the clock, since no one will pump this hydrogen either now or in the next ten years. In the best case, it can become an interesting project only in the 30s of this century. That is, Ukraine is now actually trying to calm down, saying that in 10-15 years Kiev should rebuild its economy in a purely European way. And if Ukraine wants to join the European Union, then it needs to become “green”, and then the West will help it. But the West is not going to give money just like that or to support the aging Ukrainian infrastructure.

At the same time, the very topic of the political component of the Nord Stream 2 issue, Ukraine and the agreements between the United States and Germany is perceived by the Germans themselves calmly. This story, most likely, will not affect in any way even the future elections in Germany. Most of the German inhabitants oppose the conflict with Russia. In addition, according to opinion polls, two-thirds of Germans are in favor of completing Nord Stream 2, that is, against the Ukrainian position on this issue. But a very influential part of the ruling elites and all the media of the transatlantic warehouse are simply fighting for Ukraine.

By the way, now, after Zelensky’s visit to Germany, there is a certain lull in the German media. They simply do not understand what actually happened, since they were confident that Ukraine would receive more. And now they are just waiting for another reason to start biting Russia again. But the hysteria that is now observed in Ukraine, even the most pro-Ukrainian German media are unlikely to support. Even here they have already begun to understand that Ukraine needs to stop playing intrigues – to turn the Germans against the Americans, the American Congress against the American White House, the Greens against the Christian Democrats.

The German and Western media used to adhere to a simple formula: everything that Ukraine does is right, the main thing is that it should be bad for Russia. Unfortunately this is the case. Perhaps due to such support from the media, as well as European think tanks, Kiev ultimately miscalculated. Because politicians like Merkel, Biden and Macron are in fact driven by other, pragmatic interests. Should they be in a constant cold war with Russia? Of course not. And so they made other, unfavorable decisions for Ukraine. Kiev’s noisy diplomacy ultimately lost.

After all, Ukraine only demands and gives little in return. The West has made it clear for Ukraine what to do: reforms, fighting corruption, opening up the economy to Western companies. And so now Kiev has been brought under control. And the Germans will tell the Ukrainian leadership the same thing – carry out reforms, become a truly democratic country, destroy the oligarchic regime, create a real multi-party system, independent courts, and so on. Then it will be possible to talk about Europe. Ukraine can demand, and the West will help her in some way, as long as Russia is “bad.” But when the West itself needs to come to an agreement with Moscow on something, no one is interested in Ukrainian opinion, and no one will listen to Kiev.