Ukraine demands EU takes action as Russia poised to CUT gas supply to Kiev and invade

Biden says Putin will pay ‘dear price’ if he invades Ukraine

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The plea comes as Russia looks poised to invade Ukraine, with reports that 100,00 troops have piled up and the Ukraine-Russia border. While the West has threatened to scrap a Russian gas project if it launches an attack, Ukraine fears that if the project goes ahead, the Kremlin will cut off its gas supplies. The project, Nord Stream 2, will see gas transited from Russia into Germany through the Baltic Sea, bypassing Poland and Ukraine.

Svitlana Zalishchuk is a Ukraine international advisor and spokesperson for gas giant Naftogaz.

She told that she agreed that Nord Stream 2 could be used as “leverage” against Russia to discourage an invasion, as the US has argued.

But she said that the West should go further than simply issuing threats.

Ms Zalishchuk, also a former foreign policy advisor to the Prime Minister of Ukraine, said: “Nord Stream 2 can and should be used as leverage against Putin to discourage an invasion.

“However, the main message of the international partners today is that Nord Stream 2 will not become operational if Russia invades Ukraine.

“Instead, Ukraine is convincing the EU and US that if Nord Stream 2 is launched, a military invasion of Russia is even more likely in the future.”

She warned that the controversial pipeline puts Ukraine in a very “vulnerable” position.

She told “As soon as Putin has his pipeline operational, we can expect that the Kremlin will stop the transit of gas to Europe via Ukraine, which will make our nation substantially more vulnerable.

“This is why Gazprom started building this pipeline in the first place, since our transit capacity exceeds Nord Stream 2 capacity several times.

“It is in the strategic interest of both the US and EU to stop the Russian pipeline and avoid the full Russian monopoly on gas transit to Europe.”

Russia’s control over Europe’s gas supplies has already been made clear by the spike in wholesale gas prices as a result of the Kremlin’s squeeze.

Moscow supplies 40 percent of the EU’s gas and has slashed gas deliveries to the bloc.

It has been diverting gas flow from the Yamal-Europe pipeline to the East for over 30 days, with no sign of stopping this anytime soon.

December prices hit record highs, even surpassing the October record, as Europe fears an energy crisis emerging during the cold winter months.

Ms Zalishchuk’s calls also come after the US failed to pass a bill in the Senate sponsored by Republican Senator Ted Cruz that would have seen sanctions slapped down on the pipeline.

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The Biden administration is said to have lobbied Republican senators against Mr Cruz’s bill.

This is reportedly because Washington fears the bill would worsen relations with Germany and antagonise Russia as it piles pressure on Ukraine.

And this is not the first time Mr Biden has appeared to take a soft line on Russia, having waived sanctions on the pipeline back in May.

But the US has still called for the pipeline to be scrapped if Russia does launch an invasion.

Back in October, Naftogaz boss Yuriy Vitrenko told he was “confused” by the US response to Nord Stream 2.

He said: “There has been a lack of signs that the US side is ready to confront Russia and make them behave or influence or change the situation.

“The problem with the waiver of the US sanctions was that it showed Putin that he can be above the law, and he is allowed to bully Europe and get away with it.

“It’s our very clear understanding that allowing this project to continue to operate when it’s clear that it is not compliant with European rules, when it’s clear that Putin has been using gas as a weapon for quite a while – it’s contrary to statements from the US government that they support the right things and fight the bad things.”

While Ukraine fears Russia could cut gas if Nord Stream 2 becomes operational, Moscow has disputed this and claims it would in fact ease Europe’s crisis.

In fact, if Nord Stream 2 was up and running, it could technically double gas deliveries to Europe.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov has warned the US to keep its beak out.

He told reporters: “It is very important, of course, that the United States of America does not put pressure on anyone in connection with the ongoing implementation and certification of this project.”

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