“If Russia invades Ukraine, ‘Nord Stream 2’ will not go into operation,” top US diplomat Victoria Nuland told journalists on Thursday. “I think the statements coming out of Berlin – even today – are very, very clear.” Washington is continuing its talks with the German government on this, Nuland said. She also pointed out that the pipeline had not yet been tested or certified by the German regulatory authorities.
“Nord Stream 2” was recently at the center of debates about possible sanctions against Russia. There are different positions on the pipeline within the government in Berlin. The Greens in particular are critical of the project, while the coalition partner SPD has so far rejected turning away from the project.
Baerbock promises a “hard answer”.
Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) repeatedly warned of the consequences for the pipeline in the event of a Russian invasion of Ukraine. During a debate on the Ukraine conflict in the Bundestag on Thursday, Baerbock again threatened Moscow with a “tough answer” to a possible escalation of the conflict. “In the case of a new aggression, we have a wide range of answers, including ‘Nord Stream 2’,” she said, referring to the Russian-German gas pipeline.
In her speech, Nuland also called on China to use its influence over Russia in the conflict. “If there is a conflict in Ukraine, it’s not good for China either,” the senior US State Department official said. Beijing must insist on a diplomatic solution from its ally. Beijing had recently appealed to all sides not to allow the conflict to escalate before and during the Winter Olympics in China.
Macron wants to propose a de-escalation path to Putin
Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron wants to propose to his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin a way of de-escalating the conflict with Ukraine. The two heads of state want to talk on the phone about this on Friday. Macron also sees the conversation as an opportunity to see exactly where you stand in the current situation. He is also hoping for clarifications from the Russian side on a number of points.
Only on Wednesday there was a meeting in the Normandy format in Paris, which included mediators from France and Germany in addition to Ukraine and Russia. According to the German statement, however, there were no substantial advances.
USA: Russia continues deployment
According to the US government, the strength of Russian troops on the Ukrainian border has continued to increase “in the past 24 hours”. “As for Russian build-ups, we’re seeing – also in the past 24 hours – another accumulation of (…) combat troops deployed by the Russians in the western part of their country and in Belarus,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said on Tuesday Thursday.
Kirby would not say how many armed forces had recently joined. The rearmament wasn’t “dramatic”, but it wasn’t “frozen” either. For his part, Kirby announced further military aid to Ukraine. The next deliveries should soon arrive on the spot.
US requests Security Council meeting
The UN Security Council is to deal with the current Ukraine crisis for the first time. The United States requested on Thursday a meeting of the most powerful UN body for Monday, as the dpa learned from diplomatic circles. The deliberations in New York are to be held in public.
Dispute over Ukraine’s sphere of influence
The NATO states and numerous other countries have been criticizing the troop deployment on the border with Ukraine for weeks. Western secret services fear a Russian invasion of the neighboring country. However, it is also considered conceivable that the deployment is primarily intended to be a means of exerting pressure on the NATO countries to accept Russian proposals for new security agreements.
Moscow wants to prevent NATO from directly bordering Russia and is therefore demanding a guarantee from the USA that Ukraine will never become a NATO member. Accession is currently not up for discussion. However, the USA refuses to issue a guarantee.