Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday offered to ship gas to Europe through an undamaged line in the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, an idea that was quickly rejected by Germany.
Putin said that one line of the Nord Stream 2 remained pressurized despite the attacks on both Nord Stream pipelines that occurred last month and caused gas to leak into the Baltic Sea. Both lines of Nord Stream 1 were damaged, while only one Nord Stream 2 line leaked gas after the explosions.
Germany was quick to reject the idea of accepting Putin’s offer. “Independently of the possible sabotage of the two pipelines, we have seen that Russia is no longer a reliable energy supplier and that even before the damage to Nord Stream 1 there was no longer any gas flowing,” German government spokeswoman Christiane Hoffmann said, according to Al Jazeera.
When asked if Berlin had ruled out accepting Russian gas through the Nord Stream 2, Hoffman replied, “Yes.” Construction of Nord Stream 2 was completed last year, but the German government paused the project around the time Russia invaded Ukraine, and gas was never shipped to Europe through the pipeline.
Putin condemned the Nord Stream attacks as acts of terrorism. “The act of sabotage of the Nord Stream 1 and 2 is an act of international terrorism aimed at undermining energy security of the entire continent by blocking supplies of cheap energy,” he said.
Putin also said that there are countries that stand to gain from the sabotage, including Poland and the US. The US tried to stop the construction of Nord Stream 2 for years, and President Biden threatened to put an “end” to the pipeline if Russia invaded Ukraine. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has called the incident a “tremendous opportunity” to wean Europe off Russian gas.
While Washington and some of its allies have the motive to blow up the Nord Stream pipelines, at this point, it’s not clear who was responsible. Sweden is conducting an investigation of the attacks but will not share its findings with Russia or Gazprom, Russia’s state gas company. Gazprom is the majority owner of Nord Stream 1 and the sole owner of Nord Stream 2.