Zelenskyy Slams Nord Stream 2 Project As 'Global Blackmail' In Phone Call With Biden- Kiev

Zelenskyy Slams Nord Stream 2 Project as 'Global Blackmail' in Phone Call With Biden- Kiev

KIEV (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 08th June, 2021) Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called the Russian-led Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project a "global blackmail" in a telephone conversation with US leader Joe Biden, Mikhail Podolyak, an adviser to the head of the Ukrainian leader's administration, said on Monday.

Zelenskyy has earlier said in an interview with Axios that he was "surprised" to learn through the press and not directly, via official channels, about Biden's decision to waive sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline for the sake of relations with Berlin.

"President Zelenskyy separately mentioned that the Nord Stream 2 was not so much an economic aspect, as individual countries insist on, but a very specific manifestation of global blackmail," Podolyak said, as quoted by the RBC Ukraine news agency.

The Russian-led gas project, which is currently over 90-percent complete, aims at laying a 745-mile twin pipeline to transport gas from Russia directly to Germany under the Baltic Sea, passing through the territorial waters of Denmark, Finland and Sweden.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said last week that the construction of the first line of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline was finished, while the second line was nearing completion.

In 2019, the US a vocal opponent to the project, as well as Berlin's alleged dependence on Russian natural resources imposed sanctions on the project, forcing Swiss company Allseas to abandon it. After a year-long hiatus, the construction was resumed by Russian pipe-laying vessel Fortuna late last year.

Despite Washington's pledge to lift sanctions on Swiss-based Nord Stream 2 AG, the project's operator, and its chief executive Matthias Warnig last month, the US authorities introduced a new set of restrictions on the operator and its senior leadership shortly after the waiver announcement. Additionally, Republican Rep. Fred Keller introduced last week legislation that would reinstate sanctions on entities involved in the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.