Ukraine seeks stronger security guarantees on Nord Stream 2


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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Workers are seen at the construction site of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, near the town of Kingisepp, Leningrad region, Russia, June 5, 2019. REUTERS/Anton Vaganov/File Photo

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By Pavel Polityuk and Natalia Zinets

KYIV (Reuters) -Ukraine has many questions on how a deal between the United States and Germany can mitigate the security threat posed by the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told reporters on Thursday.

Washington and Berlin unveiled an agreement on Wednesday to map out the consequences for Russia if Moscow uses the pipeline to harm Ukraine and other eastern European countries.

Ukraine, which bitterly opposes the $11 billion project, signalled its displeasure by formally initiating consultations with the European Union and Germany.

Kuleba said it was unclear whether Russia would honour its obligations, adding: “We would like the U.S.-German statement regarding security to be stronger”.

Although Wednesday’s deal includes sweeteners for Kyiv, Ukraine fears Russia will use energy as a weapon and that it will lose transit fees once the pipeline to carry gas under the Baltic Sea from Russia to Germany, bypassing Ukraine, is complete.

The deal is a further blow to Kyiv, which has also struggled to convince Western allies to accelerate Ukraine’s entry into the NATO military alliance after a troop standoff with Russia earlier this year.

“There is a fundamental problem,” Kuleba told a briefing.

“It is connected with the fact that it is still unclear to us whether Russia is ready to fulfil its obligations and its part properly when it comes to the energy security of Ukraine and the preservation of Ukraine’s role as a transit state.”

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Ukrainians voiced their disappointment about the deal going ahead on social media. Kuleba’s predecessor Pavlo Klimkin feared Ukraine was getting sidelined.

“We are not listened to, we are not looking for solutions at the same table with the U.S., the EU and Germany as we should. We are not even part of the process,” he said.

“We make a lot of emotional statements that have the same force as last year’s snow.”

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