Explained: Why is Nord Stream 2 pipeline crucial in Russia-Ukraine tensions?

WION Web Team
New Delhi Updated: Jan 28, 2022, 02:27 PM(IST)

The Nord Stream 2 gas line landfall facility entrance in Lubmin, north eastern Germany Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

The project has become a centre of controversy after German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said his government will halt the pipeline if Russia attacks Ukraine.

The US warned on Friday that Russia's Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project would suffer if it invades Ukraine. Germany had earlier signalled that it was open to taking punitive action over the controversial pipeline.

What is the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project?

The project proposes to transport gas from Russia to the European Union with Europe in dire need of gas to sustain its energy requirement. According to the company, it has made "landfall" in the German city of Lubmin in its bid to link other European nations. The pipeline will be built in several phases.

The pipeline seeks to supply gas to millions of households in Germany and is set to pass through the territorial waters and the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) of major European countries including Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Germany. 

The pipeline will stretch 1,230 km through the Baltic Sea starting from the coast of Russia and to Greifswald in Germany. Russia's state-owned Gazprom will be pumping gas into the pipeline.

Political tensions over Nord Stream 2

The project has become a centre of controversy after German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said his government will halt the pipeline if Russia attacks Ukraine.

The $12 billion project has been the focal point of tension for years with eastern European countries including Ukraine and Poland opposing it since it reportedly gives Russia an upper hand to control Europe's energy demands amid growing tensions with Putin's regime. 

Germany's energy regulator said the approval process for the pipeline is likely to continue until the second half of this year.

It is also awaiting approval from European Union regulators amid disagreements in Germany's political circles.

Ukraine's shadow over Nord Stream 2

The United States which has consistently opposed the project said the project won't go forward if Russia invades Ukraine. In fact, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky has been bitterly opposing the deal.

The Nord Stream 2 pipeline like the Nord Stream 1 bypasses Ukraine which means it cannot claim the lucrative transit fee. However, sanctions threat looms over the project due to Russia's border row with Ukraine.

(With inputs from Agencies)

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