WASHINGTON, December 5. /TASS/. The US Department of State believes that the incident in the Kerch Strait has become a good illustration for Europe why it should abandon the Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline project with Russia, a high-ranking US Department of State official has told reporters in Brussels.
"Kerch incident should be a reminder to all of our European allies on why Nord Stream 2 is such a bad idea," the source said. "The Kerch incident is a reminder that the less infrastructure you have, the less gas infrastructure you have bypassing Ukraine because of Nord Stream 2, the weaker the deterrent - deterrence is to Russian acts of military aggression."
He said the incident made Germany more receptive of Washington’s criticism of the project.
"And we’ve seen some indications in our recent conversations with German officials that they’ve absorbed that message more plainly after Kerch. It’s harder for them to just say this is a commercial project," the US diplomat said.
On November 25, Russia had to use force and detain three Ukrainian warships that violated the rules of passage via the Kerch Strait that connects the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. Three Ukrainian servicemen were slightly injured, the ships were convoyed to the Russian port of Kerch in Crimea. A criminal case was launched on charges of violating the Russian border, which entails the punishment of up to six years in prison.
Washington has actively opposed the Nord Stream-2 project and has been actively taking measures to block it. Many experts believe that Washington is seeking to promote its liquefied natural gas on the Russian market, which is may more expensive that pipeline deliveries from Russia. The CAATSA bill, adopted last year, envisages unilateral US sanctions against companies involved in the project.
Nord Stream-2 is an international project for the construction of a gas pipeline that will run across the bottom of the Baltic Sea from the Russian coast to Germany bypassing transit states, such as Ukraine, Belarus, Poland and other Eastern European and Baltic countries. The new 1,200-kilometer pipeline, basically following the same route as Nord Stream, will traverse economic zones and territorial water of five countries, namely Russia, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, and Germany. The pipeline’s capacity will be 55 billion cubic meters of gas a year and it is planned to be commissioned in late 2019. The costs of the construction are estimated at 9.5 billion euro.