The White House has repeatedly warned Berlin about the consequences of the commissioning of Nord Stream 2, but its position has softened recently, said Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Pawel Jabłoński in an interview with the Australian Financial Review.
"The United States opposes in words, but when it comes to concrete actions, they become much less persistent. They just retreat in the hope that we will gain ourselves a few months of calm," Jabłoński said. In his opinion, such an approach is naïve and will not help ensure security in Europe - sanctions are needed for this.
According to Jabłoński, the commissioning of the gas pipeline will allow Russian President Vladimir Putin to put pressure on the Ukrainian government, because now Ukraine is "100% dependent on Russian gas." "He [Putin] will be able to change the political mood in the country without war, without a military invasion, shifting the public opinion towards a pro-Russian direction," the deputy minister emphasized.
Jabłoński called Nord Stream 2 Europe’s "strategic mistake" and said that security is more important than the business interests, "especially if these are the interests of only a few German companies."
Washington actively opposed Nord Stream 2, saying that Moscow would use the gas pipeline to influence other countries. In July, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and United States President Joe Biden struck an agreement: Germany promised to support sanctions against Russia if it used gas transit to pressure other countries, including Ukraine. The agreement allowed Russia to complete the gas pipeline.
Kyiv and Warsaw condemned the United States and Germany for refusing to try to stop the launch of the gas pipeline. They said the deal "created additional political, military and energy threats to Ukraine and Central Europe as a whole."
Nord Stream 2 was completed in September and is ready to be launched. To start its operation, the gas pipeline must receive the approval of German and European regulators. Germany is expected to make a decision by January 8, 2022. After that, it will be considered by the European Commission for another two months, which has the right to extend the deadline until May 8, 2022.
US Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland said on December 7 that the U.S. expects Germany to stop the implementation of the Nord Stream 2 project in the event of a Russian invasion of Ukraine.