Ukraine was supposed to prevent Russia from deepening
energy ties with Germany; it didn't work out that way
By Pepe Escobar
Once upon a time in Pipelineistan,
tales of woe were the norm. Shattered dreams littered
the chessboard – from IPI
vs. TAPI in the AfPak realm to the neck-twisting Nabucco
opera in Europe.
In sharp contrast, whenever China entered the
picture, successful completion prevailed. Beijing
financed a gas pipeline from Turkmenistan
to Xinjiang, finished in 2009, and will profit from
two spectacular Power
of Siberia deals with Russia.
And then there’s Ukraine. Maidan was a project of the
Barack Obama administration, featuring a sterling cast
led by POTUS, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, John McCain
and last but not least, prime Kiev cookie distributor
Victoria “F**k the EU” Nuland.
Ukraine was also supposed to prevent Russia from
deepening energy ties with Germany, as well as other
Well, it did not exactly play like that. Nord Stream
was already operational. South Stream was Gazprom’s
project to southeast Europe. Relentless pressure by the
Obama administration derailed it. Yet that only worked
to enable a resurrection: the already completed TurkStream,
with gas starting to flow in January 2020.
The battlefield then changed to Nord
Stream 2. This time relentless Donald Trump
administration pressure did not derail it. On the
contrary: it will be completed by the end of 2020.
Richard Grennel, the US ambassador to Germany,
branded a “superstar” by President Trump, was furious.
True to script, he threatened Nordstream 2 partners – ENGIE,
OMV, Royal Dutch Shell, Uniper, and Wintershall – with
Worse: he stressed that Germany “must stop feeding
the beast at a time when it does not pay enough to
“Feeding the beast” is not exactly subtle code for
energy trade with Russia.
Peter Altmaier, German minister of economic affairs
and energy, was not impressed. Berlin does not recognize
any legality in extra-territorial
Grennel, on top of it, is not exactly popular in
Berlin. Diplomats popped the champagne when they knew he
was going back home to become the head of US national
Trump administration sanctions delayed Nordstream 2
for around one year, at best. What really matters is
that in this interval Kiev had to sign a gas
transit deal with Gazprom. What no one is talking
about is that by 2025 no Russian gas will be transiting
across Ukraine towards Europe.
So the whole Maidan project was in fact useless.
It’s a running joke in Brussels that the EU never had
and will never have a unified energy policy towards
Russia. The EU came up with a gas directive to force the
ownership of Nord Stream 2 to be separated from the gas
flowing through the pipeline. German courts applied
their own “nein.”
Nord Stream 2 is a serious matter of national energy
security for Germany. And that is enough to trump
whatever Brussels may concoct.
And don’t forget Siberia
The moral of this fable is that now two key
Pipelineistan nodes – Turk Stream and Nord Stream 2 –
are established as umbilical steel cords linking Russia
with two NATO allies.
And true to proverbial win-win scripts, now it’s also
time for China to look into solidifying its European
Last week, German chancellor Angela Merkel and
Chinese premier Li Keqiang had a video conference to
discuss Covid-19 and China-EU economic policy.
That was a day after Merkel
and President Xi had spoken, when they agreed that
the China-EU summit in Leipzig on September 14 would
have to be postponed.
This summit should be the climax of the German
presidency of the EU, which starts on July 1. That’s
when Germany would be able to present a unified policy
towards China, uniting in theory the 27 EU members and
not only the 17+1 from Central Europe and the Balkans –
including 11 EU members – that already have a privileged
relationship with Beijing and are on board for the Belt
and Road Initiative.
In contrast with the Trump administration, Merkel
does privilege a clear, comprehensive trade partnership
with China – way beyond a mere photo op summit. Berlin
is way more geoeconomically sophisticated than the vague
“engagement and exigence” Paris approach.
Merkel as well as Xi are fully aware of the imminent
fragmentation of the world economy post-Lockdown. Yet as
much as Beijing is ready to abandon the global
circulation strategy from which it has handsomely
profited for the past two decades, the emphasis is also
on refining very close trade relations with Europe.
Ray McGovern has concisely detailed the
current state of US-Russia relations. The heart of the
whole matter, from Moscow’s point of view, was
summarized by Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, an
extremely able diplomat:
“We don’t believe the US in its current shape is a
counterpart that is reliable, so we have no confidence,
no trust whatsoever. So our own calculations and
conclusions are less related to what America is doing ….
We cherish our close and friendly relations with China.
We do regard this as a comprehensive strategic
partnership in different areas, and we intend to develop
It’s all here. Russia-China “comprehensive strategic
partnership” steadily advancing. Including “Power of
Siberia” Pipelineistan. Plus Pipelineistan linking two
key NATO allies. Sanctions? What sanctions?
Pepe Escobar is correspondent-at-large
at Asia Times.
His latest book is
2030. Follow him on