German minister urges dissociation of Nord Stream 2 and Navalny
BERLIN, April 25 / TASS /. German Economy and Energy Minister Peter Altmeier believes it would be wrong to link the completion of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project to the situation surrounding Russian blogger Alexey Navalny.
“We must not tie the completion of Nord Stream 2 to the Navalny case. We must assess and decide on the construction and completion of the pipeline independently of the separate cases,” he said in an interview with Funke Mediengruppe, published Sunday. “Over the past 50 years, gas supply has never been a political weapon in East-West relations. [the stability of] our gas supplies. “
“We need to assess all of this very carefully before we depart from this policy,” added the minister.
Altmeier reiterated that the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project was approved by national governments a long time ago.
“The project has been approved by the authorities of various European countries, in accordance with legislative procedures,” he added.
At the same time, the German minister urged to ensure that the interests of Ukraine are not violated once the project is completed. According to him, “the transit of gas through Ukraine will continue even after the completion [of Nord Stream 2]. “
“In addition, by building liquefied natural gas terminals, we will ensure that we are not dependent on pipeline deliveries if Russia tries to exert political pressure through gas supply,” he said. added.
Speaking of the Navalny issue, the minister called on Russia “to respect international standards in the field of human rights”. “His immediate release would be the best scenario,” he said.
Asked about the possibility of imposing new sanctions on Russia on this issue, the minister said: “The decision on sanctions must be taken at the level of the whole EU”.
Navalny, wanted for repeatedly violating his probation for his suspended sentence in the Yves Rocher case, was detained at Sheremetyevo Airport in Moscow on January 17, 2021. On February 2, the Simonovsky District Court in Moscow l ‘sentenced to a prison term of 3.5 years.
Navalny is serving his prison sentence in the No. 2 penal colony in the Vladimir region of central Russia. On April 5, he was taken to the prison infirmary with symptoms of an acute respiratory illness detected during a routine medical examination. According to regional prison authorities, Navalny was reinstated in his unit on April 9 as his condition improved. His tuberculosis and coronavirus tests came back negative and a panel of doctors concluded that he was in satisfactory condition.
Nevertheless, the regional office of the Federal Penitentiary Service reported on April 19 that doctors had decided to transfer Navalny to a hospital facility at a regional convict hospital.
Nord Stream 2 project
The Nord Stream 2 project envisages the construction of two pipeline chains with a total capacity of 55 billion cubic meters per year, from the coast of Russia to the Baltic Sea to Germany. Construction was suspended in December 2019 when the Swiss pipe-laying company Allseas halted work due to US sanctions. However, construction resumed in December 2020.
Nord Stream 2 AG, the operator of the project reported earlier this month that the pipeline is currently 95% complete, with approximately 121 km of the total length of the pipeline still to be laid.