Merkel calls for not using Nord Stream 2 a weapon and for extending transit agreement

German Chancellor stressed that gas transit via Ukraine should be continued after 2024 and it is time to begin talks on this matter

KIEV, August 22. /TASS/. The Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline should not be used as a weapon, otherwise Germany will call for sanctions, German Chancellor Angeea Merkel said on Sunday after talks with Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky.

“We gave to understand that we will stand for new sanctions within the European framework if we see that the pipeline is used as a weapon,” she said, adding that Nord Stream 2 is not a Russian-German project, but a European one.

She stressed that gas transit via Ukraine should be continued after 2024 and it is time to begin talks on this matter. “I told the Russian president that ideally we should promptly extend the agreement that is in force until 2024,” she said, adding that her country bears “special responsibility” in terms of ensuring further gas transit via Ukraine. “I am very serious about Kiev’s concerns,” she stressed.

Nord Stream 2 is an international project for the construction of a gas pipeline that will run across the bottom of the Baltic Sea from the Russian coast to Germany bypassing transit states, such as Ukraine, Belarus, Poland and other Eastern European and Baltic countries.

The new 1,230-kilometer pipeline, basically following the same route as Nord Stream, traverses the economic zones and territorial water of five countries, namely Russia, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, and Germany.

Works under the project were suspended in December 2019 after Allseas, a Swiss company laying the pipes for the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, suspended pipe-laying works over possible US sanctions and recalled its ships. Works were resumed in December 2020.

In December 2019, Moscow and Kiev reached an agreement to continue transit of Russian gas via Ukraine in 2020-2024 with a possible extension of the agreement.

The Russian side has repeatedly stressed that Nord Stream 2 is not a commercial project and is being implemented jointly with European partners. Russian president's press secretary Dmitry Peskov expressed resentment over attempts of a number of countries to link the future of the project to politically-motivated circumstances. Moscow has also repeatedly stressed that it has never used energy resources as an instrument of pressure.

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