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GERMANY AND RUSSIA

Germany warns of ‘consequences’ for Nord Stream 2 if Russia invades Ukraine

Germany on Thursday vowed serious consequences for Russia if it invaded Ukraine, with sanctions expected to hit the disputed Nord Stream 2 pipeline built to bring Russian gas to Europe.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock speaks in the Bundestag, as Chancellor Olaf Scholz sits to her right.
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock speaks in the Bundestag, as Chancellor Olaf Scholz sits to her right. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Bernd von Jutrczenka

“We are working on a strong package of sanctions” with Western allies, and it covers several aspects “including Nord Stream 2”, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock told parliament.

Nord Stream 2 is set to double supplies of cheap natural gas from Russia to Germany, which the EU’s top economy says is needed to help transition away from coal and nuclear energy.

Germany’s insistence over the years on the 10-billion-euro ($12 billion) gas pipeline had angered allies, who fear it would increase Europe’s dependence on Russian supplies.

READ ALSO: Opinion – Germany is in a muddle over Russia – and it only itself to blame

But with the drums of war getting louder, Germany’s new Chancellor Olaf Scholz, on his first day in office, warned of consequences for the pipeline if Russia made a move on Ukraine.

It was completed in September but Germany’s energy regulator BNetzA has said the approval process for the pipeline is likely to drag into the second half of 2022.

On Wednesday, Economy Minister Robert Habeck acknowledged that if sanctions had to be deployed against Russia, the German economy would also suffer.

“If there are to be sanctions, there will be none that won’t hit the German economy,” he told a news conference.

US President Joe Biden has said he would consider adding direct sanctions on Vladimir Putin to a raft of measures being drawn up.

A senior US official has said that new sanctions would include restrictions on exports of high-tech US equipment in the artificial intelligence, quantum computing and aerospace sectors.

Member comments

  1. Years of poor policies and bad choices have lead to this situation. Now there’s nothing to be done. Either allow Russia to do as it pleases or force the poorer parts of society into destitution with spiralling costs.

    With this government we will probably end up doing both.

    1. They should stop calling it a pipeline and call it what it is – an umbilical cord. Personally , I think it’s only a matter of time before Ukraine, US or UK special forces or another Baltic country quietly blows it up

  2. How much economic pain is Germany willing to suffer over Ukraine if sanctions are applied? Politicians have yet to say.

    But Russia can leverage the pipeline to its advantage by threatening or actually cutting off the flow of natural gas. This provides the Kremlin tremendous power to influence Germany’s affairs both politically and economically, especially the latter. That is the “ace” card they hold and Berlin knows it.

    1. Why do you think Germany sends Ukraine 5,000 helmets. And a handful of tents. Looks like their helping. Although I f I were Ukraine I think I’d prefer a massive banner that says.

      Your on your own. Lots of love USSR Deutschland.

      I doubt the government really cares though. I bet they can afford sky high heating bills.

      1. Germany is the only NATO country not providing weaponry to Ukraine. Field hospitals do little to enhance the defense capability of the Ukrainians.

        The 5,000 helmets are as close as military hardware that Germany will provide to Ukraine. It reflects the country’s deep pacifism to avert conflict or the appearance of it at almost at any cost.

        1. Germany is between a rock and a hard place. If they stand with NATO. Russia turn off the taps which thanks to thee amazing green policies will have dire consequences for anyone who doesn’t have an extra 500 a month for energy costs.
          Or they stand with or by Russia. This will rattle NATO and empower Putin. It’ll fall apart just like the league of nations did. Either way Russia have played this well. They have a win win on their hands. Putin gets what he wants with either outcome.

          That being said you don’t have that many troops amassed on a boarder and not use them.

          1. Agree, Putin is using Ukraine to undermine NATO. That is one of his major goals. If he can sow discord and division in the alliance he will achieved a major milestone. Germany is fair game and he will exploit it.

        2. It’s a strange pacifist that is a full member of NATO and also sells £8Bn of arms a year round the world. If they want to stay in the arms business, demand NATO protection but refuse to join the fight when needed – that’s cowardice not pacifism.

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POLITICS

Germany set to strip ex-Chancellor’s perks over Russia ties

Gerhard Schröder, Germany’s leader from 1998 to 2005, could lose most of the perks former Chancellors get as early as this week.

Germany set to strip ex-Chancellor's perks over Russia ties

After leaving office, former German Chancellors are given a permanent office on the premises of the German Bundestag. Further institutionalising their role as elder statespeople of sorts, they are allotted a dedicated staff as well as perks like chauffeurs.

Schröder has maintained such an office since 2005, paid for by the German taxpayer, while also pursuing a lucrative career lobbying the German government for Russian state-owned gas companies.

But now parliamentarians from the ruling ‘traffic light’ coalition government, including the Social Democrats (SPD) that Schröder once led, will move to cut funding for these perks through a motion in the Bundestag’s Budget Committee.

Under the application by the three parties forming the government, Schröder will lose offices and employees paid for by taxpayers at an annual cost of around €400,000.

“The budget committee notes that the former chancellor Schroeder no longer upholds the continuing obligations of his office,” said an application due to be put before the committee Thursday.

His office “will therefore be suspended”, said the document seen by AFP.

The opposition Christian Democrats are also likely to toughen any sanctions against Schröder, including a proposal to cut his €6,000 per month pension.

German media reports say the ex-Chancellor will still receive state-funded security.

READ ALSO: Gerhard Schröder: The ex-German Chancellor turned public pariah

After leaving office, Schröder, who led a coalition with his own Social Democrats and the Greens, became a lobbyist for Russian state-owned gas giant Gazprom.

Ever since, he has maintained a close personal friendship with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Schröder currently chairs the shareholder’s committee of the now cancelled Nord Stream 2 pipeline. The 78-year-old is also due to join the supervisory board gas giant Gazprom in June.

Even after Russia invaded Crimea in 2014, Putin was still spotted at Schröder’s 70th birthday party. Since Russia’s full invasion of Ukraine earlier this year, Schröder has refused to sever his ties with Russian state-owned businesses.

SPD Interior Minister Nancy Faeser has also called for the Social Democrats to kick Schröder out of the party. Party co-chair Saskia Esken recently confirmed that the party was examining petitions to remove Schröder, while saying that she herself thought he should quit.

READ ALSO: Germany loses patience with ex-chancellor’s Russia lobbying

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