Russia must not use gas pipeline as weapon, says Merkel

Russia must not use gas pipeline as weapon, says Merkel
Angela Merkel sought to reassure Ukraine's Volodymyr Zelensky over the Russian-led Nord Stream 2 project. Source: EPA
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Daily US Times: German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said further sanctions may be imposed on Russia if the country uses a controversial gas pipeline against Ukraine.

Mrs Merkel is on her final visit to Kyiv before leaving office. She told Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky that she understood his concerns over the Nord Stream 2 project.

The Ukrainian president opposes the pipeline, which he says threatens Ukraine’s security.

The gas pipeline will run under the Baltic Sea and double Russian gas exports to Germany.

Ukraine fears that the Russian-led Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline will tighten Russia’s grip over the region’s energy supply and strengthen its influence.

Mr Zelensky described the project as a “geopolitical weapon of the Kremlin”, during a joint press conference on Sunday, adding that the pipeline would be “dangerous for all of Europe”.

But the German Chancellor, who is standing down as the country’s leader this autumn after 16 years in office, said Germany agreed with the US that Nord Stream 2 should not be used against Ukraine.

Mrs Merkel said sanctions could be used against Russia under an agreement between Germany and the US, if gas was “used as a weapon”.

President Zelensky said he was concerned about what would happen in three years when the contract to deliver Russian gas through Ukrainian pipelines runs out.

The loss of billions of dollars in transit fees would hit the economy of Ukraine hard.

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