The United States has reached a deal with Germany to prevent Russia from using its Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. The deal aims to invest more than 200 million euros in energy security in Ukraine as well as sustainable energy across Europe.
What's the Deal About?
Allowing the completion of the controversial Russian gas pipeline to Europe, US and Germany have reached a deal over the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. The deal would now allow the completion of Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline without either Germany or Russia facing new US sanctions. Yet under the deal, Germany has agreed to warn Russia of potential sanctions and to support Ukraine's energy sector financially.
In a joint statement, the two governments said they were "united in their determination to hold Russia to account for aggression and malign activities by imposing costs via sanctions and other tools" - referring largely to Russian support for separatists in Ukraine.
The 1,230-km gas pipeline, expected to be completed next month, would bring 55 billion cubic meters of gas annually from Russia to Germany through the Baltic Sea, reports Xinhua news agency. The pipeline will double Russian gas exports to Germany.
Germany Will Not Allow Russia to Misuse the Energy Sector for Political Gains
In May, the United States waived sanctions on the Swiss-based company Nord Stream 2 AG, which is running the pipeline project, and its German chief executive. The waiver gave Berlin and Washington three more months to reach an agreement on Nord Stream 2.
The agreement comes on the back of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's visit to the White House. During a joint press conference at the White House, Merkel pledged to take a tough stance against Russia if Moscow misused the energy sector for political gains.
The Deal has Attracted Condemnation from Ukraine and Poland
In a joint statement issued on Wednesday night, the countries' two foreign ministers, Dmytro Kuleba and Zbigniew Rau called the deal struck "insufficient".
Ukraine Says the Nord Stream 2 Pipeline threatens its security. Ukraine has been fighting Russian-backed separatists in the east since 2014. Russia also annexed the Crimea peninsula from Ukraine in 2014. Kyiv fears a full-scale Russian invasion once Nord Stream 2 is fully operational. Ukraine also stands to lose about $3bn (Â£2.2bn) a year in gas transit fees.
Poland is also opposing the pipeline, which runs from Vyborg in Russia under the Baltic Sea to Lubmin in Germany. Poland says the $10bn project threatens the security of central and eastern Europe, reported BBC.
However, under the terms of the US-German deal, Ukraine will get $50 million in green energy technology credits and a guarantee of repayment for gas transit fees it will lose by being bypassed by the pipeline through 2024, according to the Associated Press.
North Stream 2: A Topic of Intense Debate in the Past
Earlier, Nord Stream 2 has drawn criticism from the US since it was planned in 2015, where it is believed that the project would increase Europe's dependence on Russia for natural gas, thus strengthening its President Vladimir Putin.
US officials from both parties have long feared that it would give Russia too much power over European gas supplies potentially shutting off gas to Russian adversaries- Ukraine and Poland.
But, the pipeline is almost completed and the US is been determined to rebuild ties with Germany that were damaged during the Trump administration. US State Department's Councilor Derek Chollet is visiting both Ukraine and Poland this week to inform them of the deal.