The chairman of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) Armin Laschet, who is also a candidate for Chancellor of Germany, has threatened Russia with sanctions in case of aggressive actions against Ukraine. His words in an interview with the Rzeczpospolita newspaper are reported by the edition Die Welt…
In particular, we are talking about limiting the operation of the Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline up to its shutdown. As Laschet explained, this is possible if Russia uses it against Ukraine. He added that the agreement with the United States on the project provides Germany with a tool with which countries, he said, can “hold Russia accountable for destructive actions.”
Germany’s foreign policy priority should be “commitment to the sovereignty and security of Ukraine,” Laschet stressed. “It is important to make it clear to Russia that we will not accept violations of international law, attacks on Western democracies by hybrid means, or violations of fundamental human and civil rights in our own country,” he said.
At the same time, some time ago Laschet made less harsh statements regarding Nord Stream 2. So, in June he spoke about the importance of the gas pipeline for Germany. Then he explained that the country’s successful transition to green energy will only take place if gas is purchased for this period. At the same time, he said that Germany understands the importance of the gas pipeline for the Eastern European partners, in particular, for Ukraine, and allowed the project to be stopped if it was used against this country.
After some time, Laschet emphasized that he still considers the project to be economic. At the same time, he again focused on Ukraine, noting that the operation of the gas pipeline should not “dehydrate” it. Simultaneously with the issuance of a permit, he proposed to set a condition that Nord Stream 2 “cannot be used for geopolitical purposes.”
In February Laschet even urged not to abandon Nord Stream 2 because of the situation around Alexei Navalny (founder of FBK, included by the Ministry of Justice in the register of organizations performing the functions of a foreign agent). Then he said that Germany had been buying gas from Russia for 50 years, even during the Cold War. He supported the course of the German government on this issue, but at the same time stressed once again that when implementing the gas pipeline project, it is necessary to guarantee the observance of Ukraine’s geopolitical interests.
At the same time, among Lashet’s rivals, there are those who take a sharper position in relation to Russia. So, the candidate for chancellor of Germany from the Soyuz-90 / Greens party, Annalena Berbock, opposes Nord Stream 2. In particular, she called for the closure of the environmental fund created in Germany, which can take part in the completion of the construction of the gas pipeline. The politician also accused the Russian government of seeking to use the energy project to cut off gas transit through Ukraine and Poland.
Armin Laschet succeeded the current German Chancellor Angela Merkel as chairman of the CDU party in mid-January. Prior to that, he was Prime Minister of the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia. In April, the party supported Lashet by nominating him as its candidate for the post of chairman of the federal government.
Merkel herself made it clear that her current term as chancellor will be her last, back in 2018. On December 31 last year, she congratulated the citizens of Germany on the New Year holidays for the last time and said that she was no longer going to participate in the elections. Angela Merkel was elected Federal Chancellor of Germany on November 22, 2005, becoming the first woman to hold this office.