Germany signals it could halt gas pipeline if Russia invades Ukraine


BERLIN/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Germany signalled on Tuesday that it could halt the Nord Stream 2 pipeline from Russia if Moscow invades Ukraine, and Western nations rallied behind Kyiv over a Russian troop buildup that has stoked fears of battle.

Stepping up diplomacy after talks with Russia resulted in stalemate final week, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will go to Kyiv on Wednesday earlier than heading to Berlin to debate “joint efforts to discourage additional Russian aggression in opposition to Ukraine” with German, British and French officers.

As fears of battle rose, Britain stated this week it had begun supplying Ukraine with anti-tank weapons, Canada’s international minister visited Ukraine and German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock held talks in Moscow and Kyiv to attempt to ease tensions.

Baerbock warned that Moscow would endure if it does assault its neighbour, and Chancellor Olaf Scholz signalled that Berlin’s response would possibly embody stopping the Nord Stream 2 pipeline bringing gas to Germany.

Asked in regards to the pipeline after assembly NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, Scholz stated it was “clear that there might be a excessive worth to pay and that the whole lot should be mentioned ought to there be a navy intervention in Ukraine”.

Scholz has beforehand stated Germany is open to sanctions within the occasion of a Russian assault and that the whole lot can be on the desk. This would come with Nord Stream 2, which has been constructed however has not but secured approval to open.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stated after assembly Baerbock on Tuesday that the pipeline would improve European power safety when it is open, and that “makes an attempt to politicise this venture” can be counter-productive.

Russia denies plans to assault Ukraine however says it could take unspecified navy motion except its calls for – together with a promise by the NATO alliance by no means to confess Kyiv – are met.

Tens of hundreds of Russian troops stay close to Ukraine’s borders and Moscow has additionally despatched troops and navy {hardware} to Belarus this week in preparation for drills with its shut ally which have prompted additional concern within the West.

The tensions have helped push the Russian rouble down in opposition to the U.S. greenback and Russian shares have fallen.


In Berlin, Stoltenberg stated he had invited NATO allies and Russia to an extra collection of conferences on the NATO-Russia Council to debate methods to enhance the safety state of affairs, after an inconclusive first spherical of talks in two years final week.

“NATO’s allies are ready to debate concrete proposals on tips on how to scale back dangers and improve transparency relating to navy actions and tips on how to scale back area and cyber threats,” he instructed a joint information convention with Scholz.

“We are additionally ready to renew the trade of briefings on workouts and our respective nuclear insurance policies.”

Although the West is rallying behind Ukraine, the previous Soviet republic will not be a NATO member and it has no treaty obligations to defend it.

U.S. President Joe Biden has dominated out sending U.S. troopsto Ukraine to combat Russian troopers.

Following up on final week’s talks with Russia, which produced no breakthrough, Blinken will meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba in Kyiv on Wednesday, the U.S. State Department stated.

“The United States doesn’t need battle. We need peace,” a senior U.S. State Department official instructed reporters.

“(Russian) President (Vladimir) Putin has it in his energy to take steps to de-escalate this disaster so the United States and Russia can pursue a relationship that isn’t based mostly on hostility or disaster,” the official stated.

Blinken spoke with Lavrov on Tuesday and urged de-escalation, the State Department stated individually. The senior official stated the 2 determined within the name that it can be helpful to satisfy in particular person.

Visiting Ukraine on Wednesday, Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly stated Ottawa would take a choice on the applicable time on supplying navy {hardware} to Ukraine.

(Reporting by Alexander Ratz, Vladimir Soldatkin, Andrey Ostroukh and Alexander Marrow in Moscow, Zuzanna Szymanska and Sabine Siebold in Berlin, Susan Heavey in Washington, Writing by Sarah Marsh, Editing by Timothy Heritage)

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