What did the US and Germany agree on on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline?
The very fact of negotiations on this topic between Washington and Berlin, including at the highest level, is no secret for a long time. For the third time in a row, the US administration put pressure on the German authorities, demanding to abandon the project, but the Germans continued to defend their economic interests. As the classics of Marxism taught, economics is primary and politics is secondary. And the situation with “SP-2” became a clear proof of this: no matter how many political intriguers from Kiev and Warsaw tried to interfere with the construction of the gas pipeline through their patrons, Western politicians were forced to listen to the interests of their business.
The US still views SP-2 as a “bad deal” for Germany, Ukraine and Europe as a whole, but is now willing to accept the completion of the project. Berlin, for its part, will commit to supporting Ukraine and looking after Europe’s energy security.
In particular, according to a Bloomberg source, the deal provides for the possibility of Germany imposing sanctions against Russia, up to and including restrictions on energy exports, if Ukraine’s backers suddenly think that Moscow is using energy resources to put pressure on Kiev or European states. Reuters writes that the United States also reserves the right to use sanctions against SP-2, the basis for which was prescribed by Congress. According to the German newspaper Handelsblatt, the German authorities agreed to deepen energy cooperation with Ukraine, including in the context of the transition of European countries to alternative energy sources. The United States and Germany allegedly plan to attract up to a billion dollars of investment in green energy in Ukraine.
There are still plenty of contradictions in this. US State Department spokesman Ned Price himself admitted that the sanctions “could hardly have prevented the construction of the gas pipeline,” so Washington earlier suspended restrictions on the SP-2 operator, deciding to come to terms with Berlin in an amicable way. But the product of these agreements again provides for sanctions. In addition, Washington trumpets about the inadmissibility of using energy resources as a weapon, and is openly playing the energy card in its geopolitical interests. For example, under the slogan of energy security, it is promoting its own liquefied natural gas to Europe, although it is noticeably more expensive than Russian.
Russian Ambassador to Washington Anatoly Antonov called the US intrigues around the gas pipeline “unfair competition”, reiterating that the construction of the SP-2 is only an economic issue. In his opinion, the fact is that American politicians are trying to use Ukraine as an instrument of pressure on Russia.
In turn, Kiev politicians seem to have taken Germany and all of Europe hostage, demanding compensation from Berlin for their willingness to serve anti-Russian goals of the West. The current Ukrainian politicians continue to believe that the Europeans owe them. And they count on support from Washington in this matter.
However, in recent days, US State Department adviser Derek Scholle held meetings with colleagues in Kiev and Warsaw. As the newspaper Politico writes, the US authorities have demanded that their Ukrainian colleagues refrain from criticizing the SP-2 deal. And they even threatened that Kiev’s public hysterics on this score could harm relations between the United States and Ukraine. In addition, Joseph Biden’s team urged the Ukrainian side not to seek help from Congress, where many are not averse to bending their line against the White House.
According to Politico, Washington’s pressure is met with resistance in Kiev. The circle of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy believes that it is not too late to block the construction of SP-2 with sanctions. In order to bring the Ukrainian president back to reality, Washington finally decided this summer to schedule a meeting with Biden at the White House. On it, Zelensky, obviously, will explain what’s what.