The first pipe string of the Nord Stream 2 has already been laid, and this week the SP 2 facilities in the Leningrad Region will start operating in test mode. According to Deputy Prime Minister of RF Alexander Novak, Russia intends to complete the construction of the gas pipeline by the end of 2021, Interfax reports.
"The work that is underway today will be completed by the end of the year, and the project will be put into operation," he stated.
In Ukraine, meanwhile, the alarm is sounding over the SP 2, as Kyiv is concerned about losing the transit of Russian gas through its territory. Minister of Internal Affairs Arsen Avakov expressed concern that Russia could arrange provocations and terrorist attacks on the Ukrainian "pipe" in order to be able to renounce transit.
At the same time, Russia itself promises that transit will be maintained until the end of the contract—until 2024. Germany, one of the main beneficiaries of the SP 2 in the West, is making similar demands. As the official German government's spokesperson Steffen Seibert told Reuters, Ukraine must remain a gas transit country even after the completion of SP 2.
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in an interview with Axios that he was very surprised by Biden's decision not to impose sanctions on SP 2. According to Zelenskyy, such a decision by the White House will weaken Ukraine, undermine Ukrainians' confidence in the United States and strengthen Russia.
"If they build the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline bypassing Ukraine, then it is clear that the time will come when Ukraine will no longer have such leverage. Everyone is fully aware of this," he said.
Context. Russia completely laid all pipes on the route of the first SP 2 string on June 4, 2021. It is assumed that the gas pipeline itself will consist of two strings that run from the coast of Russia to the coast of Germany through the Baltic. The gas pipeline's capacity will be 55 billion cubic meters of gas per year.