The signatories expressed their continued opposition to the new natural-gas pipeline between Russia and Germany, as well as their disappointment at an agreement last month between Washington and Berlin that allows the completion of Nord Stream 2, a Polish website reported on Tuesday.
Offering a strong rebuke of the project, the statement was signed by high-ranking lawmakers from Poland, the United States, Britain, Ireland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, the Czech Republic and Ukraine, according to US broadcaster CNN.
The lawmakers include the top Democrat on the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Robert Menendez, and the heads of the foreign-affairs committees in the lower and upper chambers of the Polish parliament, Marek Kuchciński and Bogdan Klich respectively.
'Tool to pressure and blackmail Ukraine'
According to the joint statement, the completion of Nord Stream 2 "will give Russia yet another tool to pressure and blackmail Ukraine."
It will also "strengthen the impact of Russian gas in the European energy mix, endanger the national security of EU member states and the United States, and threaten the already precarious security and sovereignty of Ukraine," the statement warned.
Arguing that the pipeline is designed to boost Russian influence in Europe through "dominance of the energy markets," the lawmakers demanded that any further decisions on NS2 be consulted "across the transatlantic family."
'Malign Russian aggression'
"Moreover," the statement added, "such diplomacy should happen with the fundamental principle in mind," namely that countering "malign Russian aggression is in all of NATO's, all EU members, and our partners in Central and Eastern Europe vital national security interests."
Assessing the likely impact of Nord Stream 2, the parliamentarians predicted it would undermine the growth of a single, liberalised, open European market.
In view of the recent agreement between Germany and the United States, which will allow the completion of the pipeline, they called on Berlin to make a clear commitment to reduce its reliance on gas imported from Russia, the bankier.pl website reported.
Under the deal announced by President Joe Biden's administration in late July, the United States and Germany undertook to invest in Ukrainian energy projects, while Berlin is expected to impose sanctions in the event of hostile action by Moscow. In addition, both sides will work to secure an extension of the gas-transit agreement between Russia and Ukraine, which guarantees transit fees to the latter and runs until 2024.
The deal between Washington and Berlin has attracted fierce criticism by American politicians from across the party divide.
Source: bankier.pl, cnn.com