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German and Ukrainian foreign ministers to meet

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German and Ukrainian foreign ministers to meet

Heiko Mass Ukraine
Photo: Odd Andersen/ Getty

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas will meet with his Ukrainian counterpart, Dmytro Kuleba in Berlin today.

The meeting comes amidst the looming completion of the controversial Nord Stream 2 (NS2) gas pipeline. The pipeline linking Germany to Russia is likely to deprive Ukraine of $3 billion in annual transit revenue, as it allows Russia to send gas to Western Europe without passing through Ukraine. Germany has stated that Ukraine should remain a transit country, yet Russian President Vladimir Putin has said it would depend on Ukraine’s show of “goodwill” towards Moscow.

Expect Kuleba to voice fears surrounding the completion of the pipeline and its impact on Ukraine’s energy leverage. If Putin refuses to use Ukraine as a transit country, energy-poor Ukraine will be more vulnerable to Russian aggression, especially in the Donbas region. European dependence on Russian energy will cause a severe rift in Germany and Ukraine’s bilateral relationship unless Maas can ensure Russia upholds its side of the gas transit treaty set to expire in 2024. A severe rift will hinder Ukraine’s chances of joining the EU, along with contributing to the West’s inability to agree on a coherent strategy to counter Russian aggression.

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