Nord Stream 2 pipeline should be a supplement to gas transit through Ukraine, not replace it entirely; another development will create tensions, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said late on Thursday in Washington after a meeting with US President Joe Biden.
"We talked about Russia and Ukraine in connection with Nord Stream 2. We have different assessments of what this project implies. But I want to say clearly: our understating was and still is that Ukraine remains a transit country," she said.
"For me, Nord Stream 2 is a supplementary project, not a project instead of gas transit through Ukraine. Anything else would cause more tension. We are negotiating how we can make this clear together," she said.
Merkel also added that Ukraine has the right to territorial integrity and Berlin is working on this as part of the Normandy format, TASS reports.
Nord Stream 2 is an international project for the construction of a gas pipeline that will run across the bottom of the Baltic Sea from the Russian coast to Germany bypassing transit states, such as Ukraine, Belarus, Poland and other Eastern European and Baltic countries.
The new 1,230-kilometer pipeline, basically following the same route as Nord Stream, traverses the economic zones and territorial water of five countries, namely Russia, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, and Germany.
Works under the project were suspended in December 2019 after Allseas, a Swiss company laying the pipes for the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, suspended pipe-laying works over possible US sanctions and recalled its ships. Works were resumed in December 2020. It is expected that pipe laying will be completed in late August. Russia repeatedly stressed that Nord Stream 2 is a commercial project and is being implemented jointly with European partners.