Russia’s approach to Ukraine is ‘dangerous’ says Nuland

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German Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael Roth has demanded Mr Scholz take a tougher stance on Russia. He said that Germany should not rule out using the Nord Stream 2 pipeline as a means of political pressure against the Kremlin in case of further Russian aggression towards Ukraine.

Mr Roth told broadcaster ARD: “We are counting on a diplomatic-political solution, and the diplomatic toolbox also includes sanctions.

“If we should really come to sanctions, and I still hope we will be able to avoid that, then we cannot rule out in advance things that may be demanded by our partners in the European Union.”

​​Earlier this month, a ​ senior official from the Social Democratic Party (SPD) in Germany defended the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline, saying that it ​​should not be mixed up with political and human rights disputes with Russia over Ukraine.

Kevin Kühnert, the SPD new secretary-general warned that a potential attack by Russia, while unacceptable, should not be used domestically “to bury projects in this way that have always been a thorn in one’s side”.

This suggests that even if Russia were to invade Ukraine, Germany would be unwilling to impose sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has increased pressure on Ukraine in the past year by stationing over 100,000 troops on the border of Ukraine, with experts fearing an invasion is likely to occur soon.

Germany has been criticised for relying too much on Russian gas, and also for installing the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which experts fear will only increase Mr Putin’s grip on the region.

On Monday, Russia urged Germany and the EU to not “drag its feet” over the certification of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which has been suspended.

The pipeline flowing from Russia to Germany through the Baltic Sea would double Russian gas export capability to 110 billion cubic meters per year, circumventing Ukraine.

Since the suspension of the certification, Russia has been accused of withholding gas supplies to the rest of Europe in order to pressure them to speed up the certification process.

In a statement, Russia’s foreign ministry said: “The certification procedure by Germany’s regulators and the European Commission should not be artificially protracted and politicized.

“It has to be conducted in strict compliance with the current norms.”

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Germany has continued to defend the development of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz describing it as an apolitical project saying: ​​”With regard to Nord Stream 2, it is a private-sector project.”

The Kremlin, meanwhile, denies any plans of aggression in Ukraine.

Throughout security talks in Geneva, Vienna and Brussels last week, Moscow insisted the threats were instead coming from Ukraine and NATO, criticising their strengthening of ties.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said: “For us, it’s absolutely mandatory to make sure that Ukraine never, never, ever becomes a member of NATO.”

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