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Wed Jun 9, 2021, 09:27 AM

Exclusive: Zelensky "surprised" and "disappointed" by Biden pipeline move

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says he learned through the press not any direct heads-up that President Biden had decided to stop trying to block a Russian pipeline that Ukraine sees as a dire national security threat.

Driving the news: Zelensky used an hourlong Zoom interview with Axios on Friday to beseech Biden to meet with him face to face before a June 16 summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin offering to join him "at any moment and at any spot on the planet."

The embattled leader spoke of Putin's psychological pressure campaign; his own anger-turned-disappointment at the U.S.; and his hope that Biden, whom he compares to basketball great Michael Jordan, can still outmaneuver Russia and rescue Ukraine.

Why it matters: Russian gas currently flows through Ukraine en route to Europe. Nord Stream 2, a Russia-to-Germany natural gas pipeline, would allow Russia to circumvent and isolate Kyiv, Ukraine's capital. Zelensky said the U.S. is the only power capable of stopping Russia.

"This is a weapon, a real weapon ... in the hands of the Russian Federation," he said. "It is not very understandable ... that the bullets to this weapon can possibly be provided by such a great country as the United States."

Putin is already wielding his additional leverage over Ukraine. The Russian president said on Friday that Ukraine must show good will if it still wants Russian gas to pass through the country.


The Nord Stream 2 issue is mainly about ensuring that Ukraine can collect a toll on Russian gas going to the EU.

With Southern Europe being supplied from Azerbaijan via Turkey, and Northern Europe being supplied via Nord Stream, the Russia to Ukraine to Hungary route loses its leverage.

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Reply Exclusive: Zelensky "surprised" and "disappointed" by Biden pipeline move (Original post)
Klaralven Wednesday OP
JI7 Wednesday #1
rockfordfile Wednesday #2
Klaralven Wednesday #3

Response to Klaralven (Original post)

Wed Jun 9, 2021, 09:29 AM

1. Biden's decision had to do with Germany

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Response to Klaralven (Original post)

Wed Jun 9, 2021, 09:31 AM

2. "that President Biden had decided to stop trying to block a Russian pipeline-"

If he did, then what a disappointment.

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Response to rockfordfile (Reply #2)

Wed Jun 9, 2021, 09:42 AM

3. Blinken: U.S. able to mitigate Nord Stream 2 pipeline effects

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Monday the completion of the Russian Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline was a "fait accompli", defending the U.S. decision to waive some sanctions and vowing a response if Moscow tries to use gas as a weapon.

A State Department report sent to Congress in May concluded that Nord Stream 2 AG - the company behind the pipeline to Germany - and its CEO, Matthias Warnig, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, engaged in sanctionable activity. But Blinken waived those sanctions, saying that this was in the U.S. national interest. read more

Germany, a key NATO ally with which Democratic President Joe Biden has sought to repair relations frayed during the administration of former Republican President Donald Trump, wants to complete the $11 billion pipeline.

"Germany has come to the table and we are actively engaged with them," Blinken told a hearing of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee.


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