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politico – Ukraine strikes back as US, Germany strike Nord Stream 2 deal – POLITICO

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The United States and Germany struck a controversial gas pipeline deal between Russia and Europe on Wednesday, seeking to appease critics in Washington and central and eastern Europe who fear it will primarily benefit Moscow. But Kiev doesn’t have it.

Ukraine has required formal talks with Brussels and Berlin on the pipeline, known as Nord Stream 2, invoking a clause in its agreement with the EU on political association and economic integration. Kyiv Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba also sent a joint statement with his Polish counterpart, saying that efforts to allay their concerns “cannot be considered sufficient”.

Ukrainian-Polish statement says US President Joe Biden’s decision to stop opposing the pipeline “has created a political, military and energy threat to Ukraine and central Europe, while increasing Russia’s potential. to destabilize the security situation in Europe, perpetuating the divisions between NATO and the European Union. Member States.”

The deal, which comes after years of opposition from the United States, aims to allay concerns over the pipeline which is 98% complete. These include concerns about energy security in the region – and the economic blow to Ukraine once Moscow stops paying Kiev billions a year to use Ukrainian pipelines to bring gas to the EU.

The deal includes promises that Germany will take national action and push for EU sanctions if Russia “uses energy as a weapon or commits further aggressive acts against Ukraine.” It also presents a new US-Germany climate and energy partnership that will focus on reducing energy dependence on Russia by accelerating green transitions in Central European countries. and eastern.

Biden’s team had been pushing to finalize the deal by August 19, when the next legally mandated sanctions report on Nord Stream 2 is due to be delivered to Congress. The president came under heavy fire from U.S. lawmakers in May for lifting sanctions on Nord Stream 2 and affiliates in the name of national security – and was the subject of further complaints after the German deal was released.

Derek Chollet, a US State Department adviser, is traveling to Kiev and Warsaw this week to try to gain regional support for the deal – an effort that has so far failed.

The Ukrainian parliament’s foreign affairs committee on Wednesday evening released a three-page statement calling on the US, Germany and the EU to shut down the pipeline, which it called “unacceptable.”

Agreement details

As part of the deal with Washington, Germany has pledged to adhere to the “letter and spirit” of EU gas liberalization rules when assessing the conformity of Nord Stream 2, including including “an assessment of all the risks posed by the certification of the operator of the project for energy security. supply to the EU.

He will also appoint a special envoy by September 1 to negotiate the extension of the Russia-Ukraine gas transit agreement until 2034. Last year, the agreement brought in € 2.11 billion in revenues. Kiev.

To help strengthen Kyiv’s green transition, Berlin said it would establish and administer a so-called Green Country Fund, providing an initial donation of $ 175 million and working to generate at least $ 1 billion from it. ‘other sources, including the private sector. In addition, Ukraine will receive an additional $ 70 million from Germany to move away from coal and support bilateral energy projects.

“Germany is also ready to launch a Ukraine Resilience Package to support Ukraine’s energy security” by ensuring the cybersecurity of its gas pipeline infrastructure and enabling reverse flows from the EU to Ukraine , if Russia tried to cut supplies to the west, says the agreement.

Germany will consider financially supporting the Three Seas Initiative for Regional Energy Security and will contribute up to $ 1.77 billion to support projects of common interest in the energy sector through the budget of the EU.

David Herszenhorn contributed reporting.

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