Russia overcomes obstacles to complete Nord Stream 2 pipeline

Moscow, Sep 10 (EFE).- Construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which will transport Russian gas to Germany under the Baltic Sea and avoid transit through Ukraine, was completed Friday after overcoming multiple obstacles in the form of sanctions to try to stop the ambitious and controversial project that, according to its detractors in Europe and the United States, will only increase the continent’s dependence on Russia.

“The fact that the project is entering its final stage, is already built and will soon start pumping gas can be seen as a geopolitical victory for Moscow, as it faced quite strong opposition from the US and some European countries,” Dmitry Marinchenko, head of the natural resources and commodities group at Fitch agency, told Efe.

The Kremlin refused to be drawn on whether this represents a victory for Russia, only pointing out that, once Nord Stream 2 is operational, “the winners will be both suppliers and consumers.”

In Europe, the pipeline raises concerns in several countries, especially in the East, since it increases the EU’s energy reliance on Russia, which will no longer depend on Ukraine to transport its gas.

The biggest ally for these former eastern bloc countries has been the USA, which wanted to stop the project through sanctions. It believes the pipeline strengthens Russia, creates risks for Europe by making it dependent on Russian gas and threatens Ukraine’s energy security.

Alarm bells in Kiev rang loudly in July when President Joe Biden’s administration withdrew its opposition to the Russian pipeline, admitting that it could no longer stop it.

The Ukrainian government fears that Moscow will, when current contracts expire in 2024, dispense with the route through Ukraine, which would not only deprive it of an important source of revenue — it receives some $1.5 billion a year for transit — but would give Russia a free hand to escalate its conflict with Ukraine.

In contrast, Moscow has always argued, along with Germany, that this is a purely economic project.

Russia argues that the pipeline will lower the costs for European end-consumers because of the almost 2,000 kilometers Russian gas will no longer have to travel to reach its destination.

The project, which cost almost €10 billion, was devised in 2012 and came to fruition in 2015 with the creation of a European consortium, led by Gazprom.

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