As Russian saber-rattling on the eastern front of the Ukraine continues unabated, so too does the West's preoccupation with Nord Stream 2, with threats to prevent any gas from flowing through the pipeline reverberating from diverse sides of the Nato alliance.
U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said "it's very unlikely or hard to see that happening [gas flowing] if Russia has renewed its aggression on Ukraine, if it takes renewed action," Blinken told NBC's "Meet the Press" program. Blinken has previously called Nord Stream 2 a "geopolitical" project meant to undermine the security of the Ukraine and make Europe dependent on Russia for its energy security.
Closer to Russia itself, Liz Truss, Britain's Foreign Secretary, posed in a tank in Riga, Estonia as she joined a last-minute push to urge Nato allies to block the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, warning that Moscow would exploit its position if European nations became reliant on it for energy: "Russia would be making a strategic mistake if it invaded Ukraine," Truss said, promising an economic and diplomatic response by Nato.
Britain is of the mind that, despite the United States lifting sanctions on the pipeline in a compromise agreement with Germany over the summer, that battle to contain if not derail Nord Stream 2 is not lost. They point to paragraph two in the German-US statement of June, which says: “Should Russia attempt to use energy as a weapon or commit further aggressive acts against Ukraine, Germany will take action at the national level and press for effective measures at the European level, including sanctions, to limit Russian export capabilities to Europe in the energy sector, including gas, and/or in other economically relevant sectors.”
The UK claims Russia has been endangering European allies by limiting gas supplies in exactly the way that the agreement sought to rule out, a view strongly shared by many US Republican senators who are now blocking the defence budget to block Nord Stream.
And even Oliver Krischer, a German Green politician, tipped by some to join the new super ministry for the climate and the economy, told Frankfurter Allgemeine this week: “Since gas demand will not increase in Germany or Europe, I see no need for Nord Stream 2. There is no commitment to this in the coalition agreement.”