Germany seems to realize that winters would be chillier than ever if it doesn’t get the supplies of the Russian gas. It, therefore, seems to have pressurized Canada to return the repaired turbine needed for the free gas flow via Nord Stream 1.
Nord Stream is a network of offshore natural gas pipes in Europe that goes from Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea. It includes the two Nord Stream 1 pipelines, which run from Vyborg in northwest Russia to Finland, and the two Nord Stream 2 pipelines, which travel from Ust-Luga to Estonia. Both pipelines lead to Lubmin, in the German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, in the northeast.
A tit for tat
However, since the invasion of Ukraine, the West, particularly Germany, has been dragging its feet on a proposed European energy embargo against Russia. Since the conflict, the share of Russian gas has considerably decreased in Germany. Germany went so far as to suspend the Nord Stream 2 pipelines. Later, alleging technical faulty turbines and delays in repair work by Siemens, a Munich-based automation company in Canada, Russian energy giant Gazprom had restricted gas supply to Germany via the Nord Stream 1 Baltic Sea pipeline.
The move led to a huge uproar in Germany as several companies like BASF, the world’s biggest chemical company said that it would have to halt its production if the gas continues to reduce.
Germany even entered into the “Alarm stage”, the second of three phases of the gas emergency plan.
In June, Siemens Energy claimed it was unable to return the turbines due to Canadian sanctions on Russia enacted in response to its invasion of Ukraine.
But now comes the surprise! Canada has changed its mind about allowing Germany to get turbines from the Russia-Europe natural gas pipeline. Furthermore, Germany would eventually transfer the turbine to the Russian energy behemoth Gazprom, ensuring an uninterrupted supply of Russian gas to Germany.
Jonathan Wilkinson, the minister of Natural Services Canada, posted on social media on Saturday that turbines from the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, which transports natural gas from Russia to Germany, would be permitted to be returned after being brought to Montreal for planned maintenance.
According to Wilkinson, Siemens Canada, a manufacturer of turbines, will be given a “time-limited and revocable permit” to return the items, thus granting it an exemption.
In order to boost “Europe’s ability to obtain reliable and inexpensive energy,” he claimed, as the continent works to wean itself from its dependency on Russian oil and gas. According to the administration, six turbines will be returned.
But guess who is infuriated with this decision? Well, it is Germany’s ‘so called friend’, Ukraine. Yes, you get that right! The same Ukraine for whom the whole EU is fighting for its sovereignty and territorial integrity. The same Ukraine for whose help Germany was the first amongst all EU nations to pitch for financial and military aid.
Unexpectedly, the Ukrainian authorities criticised Canada for not limiting the delivery of these rebuilt turbines. The Ukrainian government is pleading with Canada to change its mind about allowing Germany to receive turbines from a Russia-European natural gas pipeline, claiming that this decision creates a “dangerous precedent” for future sanctions against the Russian government.
In a recent statement, Ukraine’s Foreign Affairs Ministry and Energy Ministry expressed their “deep disappointment” in Canada’s decision.
“This dangerous precedent violates international solidarity, goes against the principle of the rule of law and will have only one consequence: it will strengthen Moscow’s sense of impunity,” it read.
However, Ukraine had dubbed it a political manoeuvre of Russia when previously Russian energy giant Gazprom had halted gas delivery to Germany via the Nord Stream 1 Baltic Sea pipeline claiming the malfunctioning turbines. But now that Canada is prepared to provide Germany with the repaired turbine, Ukraine is denouncing the choice, claiming it is opposed to the move to sanction Russia. What a hypocrite, Mr. Zelensky!
But Germany may now breathe a sigh of relief as Canada made the wise and timely decision to give it the repaired turbine. But given that Ukraine disapproved of the choice to provide the repaired turbine, Germany must unquestionably rethink its decision to continue aiding Ukraine.