Russian President Vladimir Putin accused his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky on Wednesday June 30 of having “Surrendered his country to full control from abroad”. “The key questions, vital for Ukraine, are not resolved in Kiev but in Washington. And, to a certain extent, in Paris and Berlin ”, launched the head of the Kremlin during a television program. For a month now, Ukraine has felt the tide dangerously turning in Europe and the United States. The unanimous support it had enjoyed against Moscow in April, when 100,000 Russian troops gathered at its borders, has already faltered.
The first alert came from the other side of the Atlantic. At the end of May, Washington decided to give up sanctioning the main players in Nord Stream 2, the gas pipeline connecting Russia to Germany via the Baltic Sea without going through Ukraine. This measure, which removes an essential obstacle to its commissioning, was all the more unexpected since Joe Biden had started his presidency on a line hostile to the pipeline, like his predecessors. But the United States now aspires to forge a pragmatic and stable relationship with Russia, far from the turbulence of the Trump era.
They also do not want to take the risk of getting angry with Germany, a key ally and supporter of Nord Stream 2, when they need her to try to rally Europe to a hard line in the face of the China, and that the pipeline is already 95% complete. After strongly opposing its construction under Donald Trump, Washington and Berlin are therefore playing appeasement. On the occasion of his first visit to Germany on June 23, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken affirmed his determination to obtain “A final result” or “Europe’s energy security will not be compromised”. The aim is to reach an agreement by August, when the US administration will have to present a report to Congress on the pipeline, and the sanctions provided for in this context.
For its part, Kiev struggles to take the shock. “We were extremely disappointed”, we explain to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where the American decision was perceived as a “Betrayal”. Ukraine, at war since 2014 in the Donbass against pro-Russian separatists supported by Moscow, has been repeating it to its partners for years: Nord Stream 2 represents a danger “Extremely serious” for her. The threat is not only economic – this would deprive it of approximately $ 3 billion in annual revenue linked to transit rights – but also and above all security: Russia would no longer have any obstacles to launch an offensive. ” in large scale “, ensures Kiev. Berlin and Washington are currently discussing compensation measures to mitigate the consequences of the completion of the pipeline, but Ukrainian authorities remain skeptical. “How do you want to compensate for security? “, it is stressed at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
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