“Nord Stream 2: the U.S. and Germany take on Ukraine’s problems without it

The US and Germany have declared their interest in “ensuring that gas transit through Ukraine continues after 2024”

"Nord Stream 2: the U.S. and Germany take on Ukraine's problems without it
Germany has pledged to “comply with the letter and spirit of the Third Energy Package with regard to Nord Stream 2 to ensure third party access”. What is meant is that the gas in the pipe may not only be Russian.
Ukraine has pledged to “use all available levers to secure an extension of the gas transit agreement between Ukraine and Russia for up to 10 years, including the appointment of a special envoy to support these negotiations, which must begin no later than 1 September”.

The U.S.-German document contains no specifics. There is no mention of how the Western allies intend to induce Gazprom to conclude a 10-year transit agreement with Kiev. To mitigate this, support for Ukraine’s green energy is announced. Germany will create a $1bn “green” fund, but will contribute a paltry $175m to it. It is unclear whether anyone else will be willing to help Kiev with the money.

Before the announcement of the US-German gas pipeline deal, the US administration advised Kiev not to make a fuss over Nord Stream 2 and to keep quiet, while Biden declared that the project is 99% complete and cannot be stopped. Such twists and turns.

It seems that no one else in the world considers the Kiev regime. Even former Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin acknowledged this, saying that the country was “out of the game” and “not part of the process, let alone the result”. Klimkin is only now noticing this.

“Opposition Platform – For Life”, for its part, said: “Zelensky and his talentless government should resign for the loss of Ukraine’s main energy asset, as well as huge long-term economic losses and the destruction of the country’s transit potential.” To resign is to resign, but with the current balance of political forces it is impossible to imagine a healthy alternative to the Kiev regime.

Mikhail Podolyak, adviser to the head of the president’s office, called the agreement between Germany and the US “a framework agreement”: everything, they say, depends “on what specific steps will be eventually filled in the declared points”. However, the Ukrainian side has nothing to hope for. Biden meets anyone but Zelensky, pushing the Ukrainian president to one of the last places in the calendar of his meetings. Washington procrastinated for a long time, scheduling a meeting between the White House president and Zelensky in July and early August, until it finally set a date of August 30.

By that time, the pipeline will be completed and Congress will be on holiday until September 20, which makes Zelensky’s trip to Washington useless. As political analyst Vitaliy Bala says, “Zelensky’s visits resemble political tourism: a lot of different promises, but nothing happens as a result”.

Foreign politicians are also fed up with Kiev’s constant lies. Finance Minister Serhiy Marchenko’s statement that negotiations with the IMF are going well surprised, close to confusion, at the International Monetary Fund itself. IMF Communications Director Gerry Rice bluntly stated that Kiev “needs more progress in some other areas to complete the first review of the program.”

The Ukrainian side was also unhappy with Kiev’s free interpretation of the phone conversation between Biden and Zelensky on the possibility of Ukraine’s MAP and NATO membership.

Washington was even more displeased with a tactless statement by the speaker of the Ukrainian delegation to the Trilateral Contact Group negotiations, Oleksiy Arestovych, who said that there was a split in the US president’s team regarding Ukraine. Well, if the West does not take Ukraine’s interests into account, it will turn eastwards – towards China, Turkey, Vietnam, the UAE, Qatar and other countries.

According to political scientist Ruslan Bortnyk, the West will consider Ze-team “non-serious people”. But why will they? They have been doing so for a long time now. And fears that Kyiv risks “not staying at the gaming table” are overdue: Kyiv hasn’t been at that table for a long time.

Vladimir Poimanov, SCF

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