The United States government has long been concerned that the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline that will link Russia and Germany below the Baltic Sea could pose a risk to European energy security. The direct flow of gas to Germany from Nord Stream 2 would potentially position the Russian government to be able to shut off existing pipelines leading through Eastern Europe.
In order to address these dangers, Germany agreed to a package of measures to protect European energy security. “This package,” said a senior State Department official, “is designed to address the root causes of those risks – Russia’s use of energy as a geopolitical weapon and the vulnerability of countries like Ukraine, which are dependent on Russian gas and transit fees, to Russian malign activities.”
It will take time and resources for Ukraine to end its dependence on Russian energy. That is why Germany has committed to appoint a special envoy to help Ukraine negotiate an extension of its gas transit contract with Russia well beyond 2024.
In the meantime, Germany and the United States have proposed a number of measures to help Ukraine become independent from Russian gas and transit fees for its energy or revenue.
First, Germany has committed to create and administer a billion-dollar Green Fund for Ukraine to support its energy transition and energy security. The goals of the fund will be to expand and promote the use of renewable energy; facilitate the development of hydrogen; increase energy efficiency; and foster carbon neutrality.
Second, Germany has committed an additional 60 –million euros to support Ukraine’s energy security, including in such areas as safeguarding reverse flow, facilitating electrical grid integration, building cyber capacity for critical infrastructure, and supporting modernization of and reform to Ukraine’s energy sector.
Third, in light of the adverse effects Nord Stream 2 would have on Central and Eastern European EU member states, Germany will also enhance its engagement with the Three Seas Initiative, with an eye toward investing in projects related to, or part of the initiative.
Fourth, Germany has also committed to support the principles of diversity and security of supply within EU energy markets.
These measures represent a significant commitment by Germany, supported by the United States, to push back against Russian malign activities and to advance a more secure and sustainable energy future for Ukraine and other frontline NATO and EU countries.