Russia’s Lavrov says EU not conducting proper investigation of Nord Stream 2 explosions.
The last time we checked in on the status of the Nord Strem 2 Pipeline, which suffered a destructive explosion last fall amid the Ukraine-Russia War, Swedish investigators found traces of explosives at the underwater site and declared that the incident was an act of “gross sabotage.”
There has been media silence on the subject for some time, so I thought a quick check on the status of investigations or discoveries would be in order. In the wake of the pipeline’s destruction and continuing hostilities, Russian gas exports to Europe via pipelines plummeted to a post-Soviet low.
The European Union, traditionally Russia’s largest consumer for oil and gas, has for years spoken about cutting its reliance on Russian energy, but Brussels got serious after the Kremlin sent troops into Ukraine in February.
State-controlled Gazprom, citing Chief Executive Officer Alexei Miller, a long-standing ally of President Vladimir Putin, said its exports outside of ex-Soviet Union will reach 100.9 billion cubic metres (bcm) this year.
That is a fall of more than 45% from 185.1 bcm in 2021 and includes supplies to China via the Power of Siberia pipeline, through which Gazprom supplied 10.39 bcm last year.
Russian direct gas exports to Germany, Europe’s largest economy, were halted in September following blasts at the Nord Stream pipelines in the Baltic Sea.
In late December, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that no European countries were conducting a proper investigation.
After the explosions on Nord Stream – which, it appears nobody in the European Union is going to objectively investigate – Russia stopped gas transportation through the northern routes,” Lavrov said.
Russia has blamed Britain for the explosions – claims rejected by London. Investigators in Sweden and Denmark say they were the deliberate results of sabotage, though they have not named any possible culprits.
The Washington Post, quoting diplomats and intelligence officials, reported on Wednesday that no conclusive evidence had emerged to suggest that Russia itself was behind the attacks, as some Western governments and analysts had claimed in the immediate aftermath.
Finally, a Swiss court granted the operating company a six-month “stay of bankruptcy” for the never-opened pipeline.
The company’s stay was extended from Jan. 10 through July 10 by a regional court in the Swiss canton (state) of Zug, according to a notice published Wednesday in the Swiss Official Gazette of Commerce.
Nord Stream 2 AG, a subsidiary of Russia’s Gazprom, is based in Zug. Nord Stream 2’s court-appointed administrator, Transliq AG, sought the extension.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s government halted the certification process for the pipeline on Feb. 22, after Russia recognized the independence of two separatist regions in eastern Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered sent troops into Ukraine two days later, and U.S. President Joe Biden President then directed his administration to impose sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 operating company.
It will be interesting to see if, at the end of 6 months, any further information is offered on the saboteurs’ identity or if hostilities between Ukraine and Russia have ended.DONATE
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