Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks at the Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum on June 4th.
As soon as Nord Stream 2 is nearing completion, Putin is setting up the gas pipeline against Ukraine. That is an affront to the federal government, which loyally supported the project.
ÜFor years, the German government has brushed aside all political arguments against the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline: it is an exclusively economic project that will not harm Ukraine, because Germany will ensure that it remains a transit country for Russian gas. As if Nord Stream 2 was really all about the economy, supporters talked a lot about Ukraine’s – quite significant – income from gas transit, but ignored the actual argument against the pipeline: that Ukraine is more vulnerable to political and military attacks from Russia if the Kremlin were no longer economically dependent on the undisturbed transit of its most important export goods through the country.
Vladimir Putin’s thanks for Berlin’s loyal support is a verbal slap in the face: On the day Russia claims that the first strand of Nord Stream 2 has been completed, he demands “goodwill” from Ukraine in return for the continuation of the gas transit. Thankfully, the president immediately said what he meant by this: The country attacked by his troops should no longer use the proceeds for its defense. It would be an appropriate response to this affront if the federal government for its part made the commissioning of the almost finished line dependent on Putin showing “good will” – towards Ukraine, the opposition in his own country, the West.