The Polish and Ukrainian foreign ministers this week called on the United States and Germany to address what they described as a security crisis in their region after Washington and Berlin announced an agreement under which the controversial pipeline can be completed without either Germany or Russia facing new US sanctions.
“The agreement … gives Russia a real chance of destabilizing a region that is of key importance to NATO's security,” said Stanisław Żaryn, spokesman for Poland’s security services chief.
“What NATO needs is clear and determined action to block Russian aggression against the West; meanwhile, the construction of Nord Stream 2 is going in exactly the opposite direction,” he added.
According to Żaryn, Russia “has repeatedly used energy to blackmail" its smaller neighbours and "to stage aggressive political actions, including against Ukraine.”
“The completion of Nord Stream 2 will give Russia more opportunities to use energy blackmail,” he told Polish state news agency PAP.
He also argued that “the link between Russia's credibility as a country supplying gas to consumers in Western Europe and the situation in Ukraine was until now one of the factors limiting the Kremlin's aggression towards Ukraine.”
With Nord Stream 2 in place, “Moscow will gain a new route for supplies from Russia to the West, which will give the Kremlin new possibilities to destabilize Ukraine,” Żaryn warned.
He added that the completion of the pipeline would also “provide additional opportunities to influence” NATO members.
“It is already clear that Russia's actions serve to destabilize and break up the partnership of Western countries,” Żaryn was also quoted as saying.
“The construction of Nord Stream 2 is being used by the Kremlin to incite conflicts among European countries. This is part of a constant Russian tactic to paralyze the possibilities of cooperation within NATO and the EU,” he said.
Stanisław Żaryn. Photo: PAP/Mateusz Marek
Poland has strongly criticized the Nord Stream 2 project, which is almost complete, amid concerns that it will make the European Union more dependent on Russian gas.
Polish deputies last month passed a motion calling on EU and NATO countries to take action to stop the construction of the pipeline.
The motion warned that the gas link would open the way for Russia to mount an armed attack on Ukraine.
This week, a senior US diplomat visited Poland and Ukraine in part to discuss Nord Stream 2.