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The widening U.S. sanctions on the Russia-led natural gas pipeline project Nord Stream 2 are a kind of hybrid warfare used by the United States, Vladimir Putin’s Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov said on Monday.
“This is indeed a variant of hybrid warfare, it is used as a hybrid war by the United States,” Peskov said, as carried by Russian news agency TASS, asked about if the Kremlin agreed with a previous statement by Russian businessman Oleg Deripaska that the sanctions were hybrid warfare.
“Let's take the sanctions against Nord Stream - it is a pure hybrid war that goes on like a war accompanied by unfair competition,” TASS quoted Peskov as saying on Monday.
The U.S. continues to try to kill the project by slapping sanctions on anyone or any company helping the pipeline in any way.
U.S. sanctions have delayed offshore construction works as the United States looks to thwart the completion of the pipeline by broadening the scope of the sanctions against service providers and those funding vessels involved in the construction of Nord Stream 2, and including the project as a target of more sanctions in the U.S. defense bill.
However, work off the coast of Germany, the endpoint of the pipeline, resumed earlier this month, with the pipe-laying vessel Fortuna laying a 2.6-kilometer (1.6-mile) section of the pipe.
Potential new U.S. sanctions on Russia because of recent cyber attacks, as well as plunging oil prices because of fear of a new coronavirus strain, sent the Russian ruble to its steepest drop since March this year. Additionally, the ruble was further pressured by the growing risk aversion toward emerging-market currencies and other asses on the markets on Monday.
Early on Monday, oil prices dropped by 3.5 percent amid growing concerns over the new virus strain in the UK, which prompted many European countries to suspend all flights from the UK.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.
New project can be managed by a newly created Gazprom subsidy, let’s arbitrarily called it EuroStreams. Under EuroStreams management also include Yamal-Europe pipeline. If Poland takes the bate and continue with lawsuits, after rebranded Nordstream 2 leg is fully operational, calibrate gas flow via Yamal-Europe pipeline accordingly.
Despite US sanctions, the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline is unstoppable. President Putin said it would be completed in 2021. Russian energy experts now expect the pipeline to be completed by the end of the first quarter of 2021 and to start delivering gas to Germany by the end of 2021.
With 95% completed and with President Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel behind it, no US sanctions can stop its completion.
Pipe-laying work has now resumed in Baltic Sea waters off the German coast to complete the remaining 16 kilometres and another 60 kilometres in the Danish section out of 1230 kilometres being the total length of the pipelines.
It is hoped that President-elect Biden will heed lessons from the past when two illustrious predecessors of his John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan tried and failed to derail USSR-backed energy-export pipelines such as the Friendship (Druzhba) oil pipeline in the 1960s and the Brotherhood (Bratstvo) gas pipeline in the 1980s respectively. Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline will be no exception.
If that is the case, wouldn’t be more logical for President Biden’s administration to accept gracefully the inevitable that US sanctions have failed to stop Nord Stream 2. In so doing, he would be resetting his relations with President Putin and starting a new page with Russia. President Biden for might even reach an agreement with President Putin for an extension of the major US-Russian New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or the implementation of something similar.
If on the other hand, a Biden administration intends to escalate tension with Russia and continue to tighten the sanctions regime, he will find that he won’t fare better than outgoing President Trump.
Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
International Oil Economist
Visiting Professor of Energy Economics at ESCP Europe Business School, London