Russia to exploit Nord Stream 2 as leverage over EU – ‘Used as a weapon’

Nord Stream 2 should be 'cut off' says John Bolton

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Vsevolod Chentsov said that if the pipeline linking Russia and Germany is completed it could be used by Moscow to put political pressure on Brussels. He also argued that from a Ukrainian perspective the pipeline should be scrapped.

He told Sky News: “It cannot only be used as a weapon against Ukraine, but also against EU member states because the more leverage that Russia has, the less that Europe is secure.”

He added: “The Ukrainian position is very clear. Europe does not need this pipeline, so it is a 100% politically motivated project.

“If your question is whether this pipeline should be turned on – ever – then our answer is no.”

There has been concern in Kiev and Washington about Germany’s commitment to defending Ukraine.

Berlin has been one of the main supporters of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline and would benefit from huge supplies of natural gas.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has been reluctant to clarify that the pipeline would be added to any sanctions package.

The German government has also been reluctant to send weapons to Ukraine.

However, Mr Chentsov argued that “the position of the German government is evolving”.

He also added that Ukraine is “doing our best to explain what we want, and what are Ukrainian concerns.”

Despite diplomatic efforts there are still real fears of a Russian invasion with 100,000 Russian troops stationed on the Ukrainian border.

However, since the Crimea invasion of 2014 the Ukrainian armed forces have expanded to 250,000 troops. 

Mr Chentsov argued that the actions of Russia were pushing Ukraine towards the west. 

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He indicated that joining the EU was a “strategic goal” and becoming a NATO member was the “most efficient and effective” way to defend Ukraine.

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