Canada will return a repaired Russian turbine it needs for the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline to Germany, despite objections from Ukraine, as the sanctions regime grappled with the war-triggered energy crisis.
Canadian Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson said in a statement on Saturday that the government was issuing a “time-limited and revocable permit” to exempt the return of the turbines from its Russian sanctions, to support “the capacity of the Europe to access reliable and affordable energy“. as they continue to move away from Russian oil and gas”.
Wilkinson said the export permit was issued after discussions with “our European friends and allies” and the International Energy Agency.
Russia’s Gazprom cut capacity on the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline between Russia and Europe to just 40% of usual levels last month, citing the delayed return of equipment maintained by Germany’s Siemens Energy to Canada. The Kremlin said on Friday it would increase gas supplies to Europe if the turbine was returned. The part is needed for maintenance work which is due to start on Monday.
Canada – which has come under pressure from Germany to find a way to return the turbine – said “without the necessary supply of natural gas, the German economy will suffer severe hardship. important and the Germans themselves may not be able to heat their homes. as winter approaches.
Alexandra Chyczij, national president of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, said on Saturday that “our community is deeply disappointed by the decision of the Canadian government to bow to Russian blackmail”.
The group said Canada was setting “a dangerous precedent that will lead to the weakening of the sanctions regime imposed on Russia.”
Canada has one of the largest Ukrainian diasporas in the world outside of countries bordering Ukraine and has urged Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to refuse to compromise the country’s sanctions against Russia over the turbine issue.
Ukraine has opposed Canada handing over the turbine and Kyiv believes such a move would run counter to sanctions against Russia, a Ukrainian energy ministry source told Reuters on Thursday.
Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Mélanie Joly, insisted on Saturday that “Canada is unwavering in its support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity…Canada will not let up on its pressure on the Russian regime”.
Canada also announced that it would expand sanctions against Russia’s energy sector to include industrial manufacturing. The new sanctions “will apply to land and pipeline transportation and manufacturing of metals and transportation, computer, electronic and electrical equipment, as well as machinery,” he said.
The turbine would first be sent to Germany, which would then deliver it to Russia’s Gazprom, a government source told Reuters earlier this week.
The German government did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Saturday but confirmed on Friday that it had received a positive signal from Canada regarding the turbine.