The launch of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline will create critical security threats to Ukraine which no amount of compensation can cancel out, said Naftogaz CEO Yuriy Vitrenko in an interview for Voice of America in Washington.
“How can the country's critical security threats be offset? Ukraine is already the target of Russian military aggression. If there is no physical transit of gas through Ukraine, the risk of a full-scale Russian military offensive will increase significantly. Russia will expect Europe to simply express deep concern over events in Ukraine as long as Moscow’s military actions do not affect European consumers,” he said.
Vitrenko expressed doubts about the reliability of the discussed guarantees regarding German “gas sanctions” in case of full-scale Russian aggression against Ukraine.
"I do not understand how Germany can guarantee the transit of gas through Ukraine. Theoretically, Russia could guarantee this, but the question arises – what is the value of these guarantees, because Ukraine has already had negative experience with the 1994 Budapest Memorandum, which it relied on as a security guarantee. A second edition of the Budapest Memorandum is not something Ukrainians regard as attractive,” he said.
According to Vitrenko, the debate around Nord Stream 2 cannot focus on the issue of compensation.
“Nord Stream 2 is a threat to the security of Ukraine and the entire region. This is not a question of compensation, this is a question of regional security, and therefore we hope that the principle of “no agreement on Ukraine without Ukraine” will be observed. Nord Stream 2 is also the Kremlin's geopolitical weapon, so we don't understand how other countries, especially the leaders of the Western world, can accept a Kremlin project,” he said.
Vitrenko stressed that there are still enough mechanisms to stop Nord Stream 2. In particular, these include the refusal of the German regulator to certify the gas pipeline, as well as the renewing of US sanctions against Nord Stream AG. Recent meetings with American politicians show that representatives of both the Democratic and Republican parties understand that Nord Stream 2 is a geopolitical project that must be stopped.
“We believe that if there is an understanding from all sides that this is a geopolitical project, that it is a weapon and a threat to the security of Ukraine and the whole region – then this project will never be implemented, the pipeline will not work. There must be a set of measures in place and American sanctions are a very important element of these efforts,” the Naftogaz CEO concluded.
Integrated Communications Department
NJSC Naftogaz of Ukraine