Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Poland and Ukraine: Nord Stream 2 has harmed the West enough, it’s time to put an end to it


  • Here are the most important theses of the article:
  • Nord Stream was designed to sabotage Europe’s energy security. Poland and Ukraine have long warned against the dangers of its construction
  • We urge US President Joe Biden to use all available means to prevent this project from happening
  • The West, led by the United States, cannot afford to be passive in the face of blackmail, which is contrary to everything we stand for
  • Poland is one of the staunch supporters of the policy of open doors to NATO and the European Union and remains an unwavering advocate of Ukraine’s membership in them

Original article on POLITICO.eu website

Poland and Ukraine have a common interest in keeping the West strong, resilient and resilient. We are united around the great vision that all US presidents have pursued since the end of World War II: a free, united Europe ruled by prosperity and peace.

As foreign ministers, however, we must see obstacles preventing Europe from truly unifying. The most important of these is the false belief that the free world is an elite club in which the national interests of its members are more important than the interests of the whole. Such a belief emboldens predatory, autocratic powers and poses threats to international stability and peace in the world.

Seeking to become part of the free world means rejecting autocracy, which creates challenges for authoritarian regimes. For their part, the autocrats are responding on three fronts.

First, they try to discourage aspirants from joining the free world by military force and annexation, economic coercion and blackmail.

Second, they try to tarnish the reputation of the free world by portraying its political and business elites as corrupt.

Finally, the autocrats seek to poison public discourse by launching large-scale disinformation campaigns to promote undemocratic narratives. They claim the right to “spheres of privileged interests” and are in favor of restoring the “concert of powers”, thus suggesting control over the fate of other nations.

Poland and Ukraine have always believed that lasting peace in Europe is impossible to maintain without the harmonized development of democracy throughout Europe.

Therefore, Poland was one of the first to recognize Ukraine’s independence in 1991. Having achieved the long-awaited goals of NATO and EU membership, Poland has become one of the staunch supporters of the open door policy to both organizations, and remains an unwavering advocate of Ukraine’s membership.

However, as Central Europe tied up with the West, Russia used the tools at its disposal to, if not reverse, at least seriously disrupt the process. To this end, Moscow has used one of its most powerful weapons – its neighbors’ dependence on energy supplies, especially natural gas.

First in 2006 and then in 2009, Russia took advantage of its sole supplier status and cut off natural gas supplies to Ukraine without any reason or explanation. Given the importance of Ukraine’s infrastructure to transport Russian natural gas westwards, the rest of Europe has also felt the consequences.

As a result of Russia’s actions, Europeans have chosen to move towards a more integrated, internally resilient and transparent natural gas market to better withstand future disruptions. Meanwhile, the Kremlin was working intensively on a plan that would strengthen its control over gas supplies to Europe and cut Ukraine off from the rest of Europe.

As a result, Russia proposed the concept of building the Nord Stream – a gas pipeline running along the bottom of the Baltic Sea directly from Russia to Germany, bypassing Central Europe.

When the new gas pipeline was launched in 2011, it was advertised as a tool to diversify natural gas supplies to Europe. In fact, the Nord Stream was designed to sabotage Europe’s energy security.

A decade after the launch of Nord Stream 1, Russia is dangerously close to completing the twin pipeline, Nord Stream 2. Unfortunately, Russia has been allowed to go so far in implementing the project, despite the fact that it continues to violate Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity by displaying a blatant disregard for international law.

Poland and Ukraine have long warned of the dangers of the construction of Nord Stream 2. Our calls for vigilance and courage have been heard in the US Congress, which pressed for action to stop this dangerous, world-dividing project.

We urge US President Joe Biden to use all available means to prevent this project from happening.

In this regard, the United States continues to play a key role. They have to dismiss claims that Nord Stream 2 has become “too big to fail” and that it simply needs to be completed. If the project is successful, Russia may try to convince the Ukrainian public opinion that the West does not care about its own rules, but ultimately cares about the security and prosperity of Ukraine.

This project is not about the energy security of Germany, our close ally and partner. Ukraine deeply appreciates Germany’s efforts to bring peace to the war-torn Donbas region and its vital support for Ukrainian reforms.

We respect Germany’s right to express its point of view. However, we also firmly believe that such projects cannot be viewed narrowly through the prism of bilateral relations, but must be approached from the broader perspective of the interests and security of Europe as a whole.

The stakes are high, but the way forward is still in our hands. Autocratic rulers in the Kremlin and elsewhere can and should be brought to justice. The West, led by the United States, cannot afford to be passive in the face of blackmail, which is contrary to everything we stand for.

Editorial preparation: Michał Broniatowski



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