ANALYSIS - US-German Agreement On Nord Stream 2 Lacks Substance, Will Hurt Ukraine

ANALYSIS - US-German Agreement on Nord Stream 2 Lacks Substance, Will Hurt Ukraine

WASHINGTON (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 24th July, 2021) The US-German deal on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline that will provide natural gas from Russia for German industry is a public relations stunt for the United States and lacks substance, but it will hurt Ukraine, analysts told Sputnik.

The agreement offers the hope of increased US and German investments to Ukraine in order to give the Biden administration a way to say that they are supporting Ukraine, Eurasia Center Vice President Earl Rasmussen told Sputnik.

US officials "are most likely seeking to calm Ukrainian officials and to find some mechanism that would be a compromise position," Rasmussen said.

Washington's relationship with Germany remained far more important than with Ukraine, Rasmussen emphasized.

"Germany is the economic leader in Europe, it has the presence of our military; It is a major trading partner and is an important ally in influencing Europe. Ukraine fills no such needs. It is the most corrupt country and essentially a failed state," he said.

Washington's strong support for the post-2014 Maidan coup unstable governments in Kiev have provided no tangible benefits for the United States and have instead generated serious tensions with Russia, Rasmussen pointed out.

"It actually provides little benefit to the United States other than a mechanism to antagonize Russia and slowly degrade Russian influence in the region," he said.

American Committee for US-Russia Accord board Member Professor David Speedie agreed with Rasmussen that the United States had no serious or long-term interest in maintaining a strong presence in Kiev.

"The United States has zero strategic national interest in Ukraine [merely the cynical tactical one of poking Russia in the eye] and there are zero chances of Ukrainian membership in NATO," he said.

Speedie, the former director of the US Global Engagement Program at the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs, also agreed that maintaining strong close ties with Germany was far more important to the United States than maintaining its support for Ukraine.

"Of course it is more important for the United States to have constructive relations with Germany than Ukraine," he said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's strong opposition to the completion of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline to Germany has backfired on his country and will lead to devastating economic repercussions for its people, Rasmussen warned.

"The greater cost has been and will be borne by Ukraine. They have cut off their major trading partner with no replacement and no future replacement. They have alienated families and business partners," he said.

Far from helping Ukraine strengthen its economic independence from Russia, Kiev's policies have relegated Ukraine to a long-term future of only serving as a transit location between Russian and other European nations, by greatly diminishing Ukraine's trade and business prospects with Moscow, Rasmussen explained.

"Ironically, fighting Nord Stream 2 does nothing to provide independence for Ukraine but rather continues to bind them to a reliance on Russia as a transit country. Ukraine's strength is their historical relationship with Russia but we seem to have disrupted that," he stated.

The United States needs to follow up its Nord Stream 2 agreement with Berlin by seeking to focus Ukraine on becoming more economically independent of Russia rather than encouraging further confrontation between Kiev and Moscow, Rasmussen advised.

"As far as energy is concerned, we [the United States] need to assist Ukraine in becoming more independent. This could be done with investment, technical assistance, and assisting in transitioning to alternative energy technologies," he said.

However, Ukrainian policies and opposition to the Nord Stream project had weakened prospects for constructive trade and investment deals with Moscow that Kiev desperately needed, Rasmussen observed.

"The future does not look bright. The United States cannot and should not ask for anything, it is primarily the United States that is behind the current situation. I am sure the role Germany is playing and the recently announced investment initiatives are a result of the meetings with President Biden and Chancellor Merkel," he said.

Retired Canadian diplomat Patrick Armstrong, who served in Ottawa's Embassy in Moscow, noted that the trust Zelenskyy and previous Ukrainian leaders had placed in Washington's support had proven to be unjustified.

"As for Kiev, it has learned that loyalty to Washington is a one-way street; it can join the Afghanistan government in lamentation," he said.

Eurasia Center Director Dr. Gerard Janco pointed out that not only had President Joe Biden not backed up the government in Kiev, he had hung him out to dry by refusing to defend Ukraine's demand that the gas to Germany and Western Europe continue to flow through Kiev's territory to provide urgently needed revenues that will now end.

"Biden by accepting Nord Stream II puts Ukraine in a difficult position. They have relied on transit fees for gas for years to assist in helping its economy, Nord Stream II can significantly change that matrix," Janco stated.

Washington had invested a lot of time and effort into blocking the pipeline and has now wisely admitted defeat, Armstrong summarized.

"One can wonder whether Washington was trying to 'keep Russia out' or 'keep Germany down' but, as in the 1980s, it failed in both. The Biden-Merkel communique papered over this reality with guff about common values and empty threats should Moscow use 'the gas weapon' - something it has never done but is always accused of," he said.

Berlin had promised some money to Kiev in the agreement but future money was not the same as present money and there was "nothing substantial there," Armstrong concluded.