Germany halts Nord Stream 2 certification

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German Chancellor Olaf Scholz put the certification of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline on ice on Tuesday after Russia formally recognized two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine, as Interfax reported.

“We must reassess the situation, in particular regarding Nord Stream 2,” Scholz said at a news conference with his Irish counterpart, adding that the economy ministry would look again at the certification process given Russia’s actions.

“It suggests that Germany is actually serious about imposing tough costs on Russia,” he added.

Scholz said he had asked the economy ministry to take steps to ensure that certification could not take place at the moment.

Europe’s most divisive energy project was finished in September but has remained idle since then pending certification by Germany and the European Union. The 1,225km pipeline took five years to build and cost $11bn. Ukraine to lose 1,5% of its GDP annually after Nord Stream 2 launch.

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The project is designed to double the amount of gas flowing from Russia straight to Germany under the Baltic Sea, bypassing the traditional transit nation Ukraine.

Germany obtains half its gas from Russia and had argued that Nord Stream 2 was primarily a commercial project to diversify energy supplies for Europe.

Putin signed a decree recognizing the areas, this move might justify Russia’s attack in those locations and an agreement of cooperation with the heads of the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic and the Luhansk People’s Republic. The militants do not control the entirety of their regions.

Following a meeting of the National Security and Defense Council, President Volodymyr Zelensky stated that Putin’s decision could mean Russia’s unilateral withdrawal from the Minsk agreements and ignoring decisions within the “Normandy format talks.”

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