Merkel ‘under pressure’ to put Nord Stream 2 on hold says expert
And Daniel Kawczynski has said Germany’s decision to press ahead with its controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline deal amounts to “pouring petrol” on the region – while revealing he had written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson urging him to “take the lead”. Mr Kawczynski, the MP for Shrewsbury and Atcham, was speaking at a time of high tensions, with Ukraine’s defence minister Andrii Taran yesterday claiming 110,000 Russian troops were currently deployed at the borders. Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry subsequently claimed Russia’s FSB security service briefly detained a Ukrainian diplomat in St Petersburg yesterday.
The situation is like a tinderbox. The Germans are pouring petrol, and it could explode
Mr Taran also suggested Russia’s President Vladimir Putin was poised to move nuclear weapons into Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014, prompting the West to impose sanctions that remain in force to this day.
Polish-born Mr Kawczynski told Express.co.uk: “Let me put it like this, the situation is like a tinderbox. The Germans are pouring petrol, and it could explode. And the United Kingdom’s government seems to be mute. That is wrong.”
Referring to Nord Stream 2, an undersea pipeline which would bring gas straight to Germany, bypassing the Baltic States and Poland, he added: “I think the British Government’s lack of public challenging this project, through sanctions, which is what I’ve called for, is actually undermining Britain’s role on the continent of Europe with many of these countries.
“What we’re, what we’re hoping for beyond what we’re hoping for is that in September’s elections, the Greens who are currently polling 20 percent in the opinion polls in Germany, will become a partner with the CDU and the Greens will make it a condition on entering the coalition to say, you’ve got to stop this project.
“It’s likely to happen and what Britain needs to do now in advance of the elections is say we intend to join the American in imposing sanctions on any company involved in this project.”
A Ukrainian tank in the east of the country
Daniel Kawczynski said Ukraine was “like a tinderbox”
Mr Kawczynski said: “This project is to drive a coach and horses through our mutual responsibilities as NATO partners to protect one another from a security perspective.
“This is a highly dangerous selfish act. The Germans were just putting untold pressure on the Baltic states and Ukraine, Poland and others.
“I’ve written to Boris Johnson saying Europe is crying out on this issue, and you need to be taking the lead on this issue, and explaining it to the British electorate.
“If the Russians have taught us one thing that they use salami tactics. First of all, South Ossetia, then the invasion of Crimea – these are small, carefully designed, methodical salami tactics and if we allow the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, that will be the single biggest catalyst for Russian aggression in the region.”
Mr Kawczynski said he had this week spoken to ambassadors from the 12 countries which make up the Three Seas Initiative, so-named because they all border at least one of Europe’s three seas, the Black Sea, the Adriatic Sea and the Baltics.
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Ukraine’a army is battling Russian separatists in the east of the country
Germany’s Chancellor, Angela Merkel
All are members of the European Union, and all except Austria are members of NATO.
Mr Kawczynski added: “There is a different narrative emanating now from the Three Seas Initiative, which is in stark contrast to the Franco-German axis, which has controlled the destiny of our continent for perhaps far too long.
“In this post Brexit era, the recurring theme that we’ve heard from these ambassadors, is that the UK may have left the European Union but they see us as a key player on the continent, because we are a permanent member of the UN Security Council because we have the largest number and the best armed forces, because we are the fifth-largest department in the world.
“So it’s essential that the United Kingdom Now fulfil those expectations by taking the lead in challenging Germany over their highly inappropriate behaviour that their country is pursuing directly with Russia. It’s smack in the face for NATO solidarity.”
Mr Kawczynski explained: “Ukraine receives $3billion a year for transit for gas transiting its country and that is an essential boost to its economy but Germany’s selfish action will be the biggest threat to Ukrainian energy security, because the Russians can turn the supplies off whilst continuing to supply their lucrative Western markets.
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A shell-damaged property in the east of Ukraine
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin
“This is highly irresponsible behaviour to a country like Ukraine and that’s why I went to see the Ukrainian ambassador to talk about that.”
Mr Kawczynski, who said his Polish roots give him an affinity with neighbouring Ukraine, said: “When I was on the foreign affairs committee we went to Donetsk in 2017 and it’s the only time I was on the surface of the moon, because everything was destroyed, I mean there was nothing there apart from the rubble.
“So we saw at first hand what the Russians are capable of, ie annihilating entire communities if that is what they feel is required.”
Asked whether Ukrainian ambassador Vadym Prystaiko had voiced concerns about the possibility of a Russian invasion, Mr Kawczynski replied: “Ukraine has already been invaded.
“Now there is speculation of the Russians going as far as Maricopa, which is even further into Ukraine.”
Russia’s military might in numbers
He warned: “With the massive buildup of Russian tanks and artillery on the border this is an increasingly destabilised situation.
“With Nord Stream 2 pipeline, the Germans are giving the Russians a Get Out of Jail Free card.
“It’s a huge amount of leverage because the Russian economy is in trouble. Their single biggest export is gas.
“Because their economy is in such freefall they desperately need to export this gas to Europe.”
Unlike Germany, the UK was “acting very sensibly”, Mr Kawczynski said, by importing liquefied gas from Qatar, Norway, America, and other countries besides Russia.
Nordstream 2 will run underneath the Baltic Sea
He added: “I think the Germans need to follow the British example, which is not to buy gas from a country which is the single biggest single threat to NATO.
“It’s illogical, and it’s also putting Ukraine in a very invidious position for blackmail over its own energy supply
“The Russians could turn the taps off tomorrow.
“They can supply Western Europe through this undersea gas pipeline, and in any future confrontation with Ukraine they don’t need to fire a single shot. They just turn off the gas supplies, all the incubators in the hospitals stop working, all the industry grinds to a halt.
“If you control the supply of gas to a country you control the economy.”