Scholz responded by underlining “serious” political and economic consequences, but appeared to rule out any assistance from Germany on the military front, saying there won’t be arms deliveries either. But importantly, he said that Berlin would mull halting the flow of natural gas from Russia.
“Germany may consider halting the Nord Stream 2 pipeline if Russia attacks Ukraine, Chancellor Olaf Scholz signaled on Tuesday, as pressure grew on his government to take a more hawkish stance on the Kremlin,” Reuters reports of the statements made after he met with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.
The ‘options on the table’ would include sanctioning the pipeline as well. Though amid already soaring energy prices in a frigid European winter, this ‘option’ would at the same time involve Germany shooting itself in the foot, if urgent supply needs can’t be met elsewhere.
“It is clear that there will be a high price to pay and that everything will have to be discussed should there be a military intervention in Ukraine,” Scholz said.
But the chancellor added: “We are not interested in long-term tensions, quite the contrary. But it is also important that everyone adheres to the principles that we have agreed on, and this means that Russia must adhere to the principles of the OSCE [the Organization for Security Co-Operation in Europe].”
He called for Russia to reduce its troop presence near Ukraine, while highlight that both Russia nad Germany desire to maintain “constructive and stable relations.”
Germany has long been engaged in a tightrope balance of sorts on Russia – on the one hand pushing through the €10 billion, over 1,200km long gas transit pipeline which bypasses Ukraine and Poland – while on the other seeking to satisfy its impatient powerful Western ally, the US.
Commenting on this, Reuters notes that “Some observers say he is sending mixed signals by calling the pipeline, which has already been built but not yet approved for operation, a private commercial project that should not be singled out for sanctions.”
In remains, meanwhile, that Russia holds on the leverage on the energy front when it comes to any potential Europe attempts to strike out with punitive measures…
🔥 Imposing sanctions won’t work anymore. Russia has learned to live with them and its economy is increasingly resilient. Oil and gas penalties could be devastating, but they are unlikely in winter with Europe and the US heavily reliant on Russian supplies https://t.co/HBl5tcaer3 pic.twitter.com/GnA9AEaFxq
— Financial Times (@FinancialTimes) January 17, 2022
Wed, 01/19/2022 – 05:45
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Author: Tyler Durden