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Ukrainian President Says Nord Stream 2 'Strengthens Russia'

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has used Denmark’s approval for a controversial pipeline to pump more Russian gas into Europe as an occasion to reiterate Kyiv’s position that the project “strengthens Russia and weakens Europe.”

“This is a geopolitical issue, this strengthens Russia and weakens Europe,” Zelenskiy said in Kyiv on October 31, a day after Copenhagen granted Russian state-controlled Gazprom permission to build its Nord Stream 2 pipeline through Danish waters.

The Danish move removed the last major regulatory hurdle for Gazprom to complete its 1,230-kilometer pipeline along the Baltic Sea floor from Russia to Germany.

It would bypass Ukraine, which receives about $3 billion in annual gas transit fees for transmitting Russian gas to European Union member states.

The project has divided Europe, with critics saying it will increase Europe’s dependence on Russian energy, boost the Kremlin’s coffers for military adventures, and hurt Ukraine.

U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to impose sanctions on the pipeline project, including companies helping with the project.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on October 30 welcomed the Danish decision, saying that the Scandinavian country “has shown itself to be a responsible international partner, protecting its interests and its sovereignty, as well as the interests of its main partners in Europe.”

Nord Stream 2 is to carry 55 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas annually to Germany, doubling the country’s imports from Russia.

The company expects to complete the project -- which is more than 70 percent built -- in the coming months.

Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters