Putin said direct transport from Russia to Germany is also cheaper – bypassing Ukraine, the most important transit country by far. When asked by the mediator whether Ukraine was not losing significant income due to transit fees, Putin said Russia was not responsible for “feeding” the neighbour. Ukraine has repeatedly called for sanctions on the project.
A Nord Stream 2 AG spokesperson confirmed that the first pipeline was completed on Friday. “The sections laid on the pipeline should be connected to each other,” said spokesman Stephen Ebert of the German news agency DPA. The assignment will then be prepared. “Work will continue to extend the other wires.”
“I am glad that this worked despite all the opposition, and I congratulate the Federal Government for its continued adherence to the project, which has clearly paid off,” said Klaus Ernst, left-wing member of the Bundestag at the forum. “Neither the irrational behavior of Greens politicians and union members, nor the illegal international sanctions of the United States can ultimately prevent the construction of the pipeline,” said the head of the Bundestag’s Economic and Energy Committee.
Demands to halt the $1 billion project came after Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny was poisoned last year. Navalny, who turned 45 on Friday, is now imprisoned in a concentration camp in Russia, despite some violent international protests.
Rep. Ernst said Nord Stream 2 is good news for gas customers. At the same time, he spoke in favor of lifting sanctions. “They do not serve the cooperation between the two countries, they hinder it,” he said. Ernst participated in German-Russian events which also considered ways of working together despite serious political tensions between Berlin and Moscow.
Russian steel director and billionaire Alexei Mordashov called for an increased focus on common interests in order to improve relations. When it comes to digitization, for example, there are opportunities for closer cooperation between the two countries, said Mordashov, who is considered the richest man in Russia and a member of the supervisory board of the travel company Tui.
At the event with the heads of German companies, including Siemens Energy and Wintershall Dea, oligarch Victor Wexelberg said that there is also great potential in the use of alternative energies. He cited solar cells and hydrogen as examples. The head of the Austrian energy company OMV, Rainer Selye, confirmed the interest in expanding cooperation – regardless of political problems. But new projects are needed.
The forum was criticized for not representing the federal government. Deputy Minister of Economic Development Vladimir Ilyichev said that not only was there a lack of high-level meetings, but official contacts between Moscow and Berlin were also disrupted in substance. At the same time he spoke in favor of continuing the modernization partnership. German companies can help eliminate problems in Russian companies.
© dpa-infocom, dpa: 210604-99-856027 / 4