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English Section

‘Putin’s pipeline must be stopped,’ says Polish minister for European affairs

18.09.2020 07:50
The poisoning of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny shows why "Putin’s pipeline must be stopped," Poland’s minister for European affairs has said, referring to the contested Nord Stream 2 gas link from Russia to Germany.
Polands European Affairs Minister Konrad Szymański.
Poland’s European Affairs Minister Konrad Szymański.Photo: PAP/Leszek Szymański

In an opinion piece published by the Politico news service this week, Konrad Szymański argued that Nord Stream 2, if completed, would make Europe dependent on Russia.

“For anyone in the West who believed in the possibility of normal relations with Moscow, the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny last month should have been a rude awakening,” he said.

“If Europe doesn’t want to see its hands tied even more strongly in the future, it has to abandon this pipeline project now,” Szymański added.

He described Russian President Vladimir Putin as "an unpredictable partner" who "has consolidated power in his inner circle, changed the constitution to prolong his time in office and showed himself to be openly hostile" toward the European Union.

“Navalny’s poisoning shows us what kind of partner Putin really is. We should take this opportunity to rethink our engagement, including economic, with Moscow,” Szymański said.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki this month suggested Russia was a "hostile regime" after Germany’s Angela Merkel said that Navalny had been poisoned with a Soviet-era Novichok nerve agent in an attempt to kill him.

Morawiecki said last month that the Nord Stream 2 pipeline allows Russia to buy weapons with European money.

He has previously called Nord Stream 2 “a new hybrid weapon” aimed at the European Union and NATO.

The 1,200-kilometre undersea Nord Stream 2 pipeline is designed to have the capacity to send around 55 billion cubic metres of Russian natural gas a year directly to Germany, while bypassing the Baltic states, Poland and Ukraine.

Warsaw has vehemently opposed the project, saying it would pose a threat to Europe’s energy security by doubling Russia’s gas export capacity via the Baltic Sea.

Poland’s Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau said this month he was optimistic about the chances of halting the construction of the controversial pipeline.


Source: PAP, politico.eu