New US Energy Security Adviser to Address Russia’s Potential Use of “Energy as a Weapon” in Europe

News analysis

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken appointed a senior energy security adviser on Tuesday, stating that the immediate focus is on mitigating the risks that Russia’s Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline poses to energy security in Europe. statement..

Amos Hochstein, Former diplomatHas been appointed as a senior advisor to the ministry’s energy security and is tasked with implementing the measures recently agreed by the United States and Germany to reduce the risk of Russia using energy as a weapon.

Hochstein, a senior adviser to the government and private sector, was a special envoy on international energy issues and assistant secretary of state for energy resources during President Barack Obama’s tenure.

NS Joint statement As the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which transports Russian gas to Europe, is nearing completion, it sought to ease Russia’s efforts to use energy as a weapon against Ukraine and Central and Eastern Europe, issued by the United States and Germany in July.

Biden administration was abandoned in May Sanctions For Nord Stream 2 AG (the company of the project), its CEO, and executive officers, the pipeline 90% complete When President Joe Biden took office.The movement met oppose From Ukraine and Poland — the traditional transport route of Russian energy to Europe.

Svitlana Zalishchuk, Ukrainian Government and State Ukrainian Oil and Gas Advisor Naftogaz, He said the agreement between the United States and Germany was “quite weak.”

“It has no legal power, it’s not a treaty,” she said of a US-German statement. “The new government coming to Germany can ignore or change it.”

“The statement itself does not provide a clear vision of exactly what will happen if Putin decides to use Nord Stream 2 as an energy weapon against Ukraine and the European Union, for example,” Zarischük said. teeth event On August 5th at the Warsaw Institute, a Polish-based think tank.

According to Zalishchuk, Nord Stream 2 will end by late August. “But completing the pipeline and making it operational are two completely different things,” she added.

Nord Stream 2 must be certified to be operational. In short, because Germany is an EU member state, the pipeline must comply with all kinds of standards and regulations required by the European Union.

EU regulations prohibit a group or company from controlling both gas production and gas transportation, Zalishchuk said. “It creates a potentially dangerous natural monopoly for the European Union and reduces competition in the energy market.”

Security Impact of Nord Stream 2

Epoch Times Photo
On May 21, 2014, the outdoor reservoir and pipeline of Europe’s largest Birsch-Volitzko-Uhelsk underground gas storage facility, not far from the village of Birche in the Lviv region of western Ukraine. (AFP via AlexanderZobin / Getty Images)

NS Nord Stream 2 pipelineWhen completed, it will transport natural gas directly from Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea and will not pass through other countries.

The pipeline is owned by the Russian state-owned company Gazprom Nord Stream Pipeline It is already in operation and has a direct connection between German and Russian gas.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia decided to use its energy infrastructure and energy projects as a means of influencing the former Soviet Republic, Zarischuk said.

After Russia occupied Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula and boosted the rebellion in Ukraine’s Donbas in 2014, the Nord Stream 2 project was launched in 2015 to bypass the gas transport route through Ukraine, advisors said. Did.

“The Ukrainian gas system was a kind of deterrent to Russia’s further invasion of Ukrainian territory,” Zalishchuk said, as Russia relies on Ukraine if it wants to supply gas to European consumers. I believed.

Ukraine’s transport pipeline has also made European consumers dependent on Ukraine for their gas needs, and gas transport has provided the country with a “safety shield” from further Russian invasion of Ukraine’s territory. Given, Zalishchuk said.

“We understand that as soon as Europeans can get gas through other channels, it makes Ukraine more vulnerable.”

“This pipeline isn’t just money, it’s not just gas, it’s a security shield in the first place. It’s a security debate,” Zalishchuk added.

She said Nord Stream 2 would affect not only Ukraine’s security but also Europe’s security.

“Europe does not take into account the fact that Russia takes advantage of the emergence of NS2. [Nord Stream 2] To increase our military presence in the Baltic Sea, “said Mikairo Goncher, chairman of the Ukrainian think tank Global Research Center Strategy XXI. (((pdf).

“According to Kremlin’s logic, there is a kind of” legal militarization “of the Baltic Sea, with two new lines in NS2 and two existing lines in NS1.[Nord Stream 1] We need stronger protection against hostilities by third countries, “Goncher said at the US-Ukraine Security Dialogue in March.

NS agreement The signature with Russia for the undersea pipeline constructed by Nord Stream Group was signed in 2005 by the former Prime Minister of Germany. Gerhard Schroeder In the office for his last few weeks.After leaving the office, Schroeder Chairman He is a member of the shareholders’ committee of the Western company NordStream AG.

Congressmen oppose Nord Stream 2

Bob Menendez
Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) will speak at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on March 23, 2021 at Capitol Hill, Washington. (Greg Nash-Pool / Getty Images)

Senator Bob Menendez (DN.J.), chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was co-issued on August 2, along with his counterparts from the Baltic States and several other European countries. statement Opposed the July agreement between the United States and Germany to allow the completion of Nord Stream 2.

Menendez, with the addition of chairs of the Foreign Affairs Commissions of Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Czech Republic, Ireland, Ukraine and the United Kingdom, said: In the statement.

“The completion of the pipeline will strengthen Russia’s gas influence on the European energy mix, jeopardize the national security of EU member states and the United States, and threaten the already volatile security and sovereignty of Ukraine.” Said lawmakers.

“We look forward to Germany’s clear commitment to reduce its reliance on gas imported from Russia and move to green energy.”

The signatories also called on NATO to strengthen deterrence, especially on the eastern side of the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea. They also called for a roadmap for Ukraine’s path to NATO accession and a plan for Ukraine to join the EU.

They also demanded that further agreement on Nord Stream 2 should be discussed throughout the transatlantic community, the statement said.

Reuters contributed to this report.

Ella Kietrinska

Ella Kietlinska is a New York-based reporter for The Epoch Times.