The second incarnation of the Nord Stream pipeline was launched in 2011, but the near-complete pipeline faced strong opposition in the EU and US. It was designed to deliver gas from Russia to the German coastline via 1,200 pipelines under the Baltic Sea, at a cost of around $12 billion.
Germany depends on Moscow for around 40% of its gas supply, and critics have claimed that the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline would only increase Europe’s dependence on Russia.
After the Russian invasion of Ukraine lasted more than a month, Germany issued an “early warning” for a gas shortage in the country.
Economy Minister Robert Habeck said: “We need to increase precautionary measures in order to be prepared in case of escalation from Russia.”
Economist Anders Åslund has accused former Chancellor Angela Merkel of encouraging European dependence on Russian oil through her involvement in the highly controversial pipeline.
Mr Åslund wrote on Twitter that “Merkel was the main defender of Nord Stream 2”.
He then asked, “Would Putin have attacked Ukraine if Merkel hadn’t insisted on Nord Stream 2?” I doubt.”
Angela Merkel retired from politics last year after a record 16 years in power.
Last week, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier admitted the government had made a “mistake” in advancing the pipeline.
READ MORE: Frightened Russian soldiers abandon tanks in ‘hasty’ retreat
He went on to say that Europe’s largest economy had “failed with the approach of including Russia in a common security architecture”.
The pipeline has also been criticized by German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, who told a conference that Germany had ‘ignored’ its reliance on Russian oil in what appeared to be a reference to Nord Stream 2. .
She said: “In fact, we Europeans have known since 2014 at the latest that we need to become completely independent of Russian fossil fuel imports, and a strategy has been put in place to diversify our energy imports.
“However, we didn’t address that, and it’s now taking its revenge in the most brutal way.”
Angela Merkel has defended her foreign policy towards Ukraine after the beleaguered government called her tactic a “concession policy” to Moscow.
In 2008, Merkel, along with other European leaders like former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, blocked Kyiv’s application for NATO membership and continued economic ties with Moscow.
Earlier this month she became a target in the eyes of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who stepped up his criticism of the German ex-chancellor after alleged war crimes in northern Israel came to light. Ukraine.
He said: “I invite Mrs. Merkel and Mr. Sarkozy to visit Bucha and see what the policy of concessions to Russia has achieved in 14 years.”
He added: “They thought that by refusing Ukraine they could appease Russia. Now we are fighting for our lives in the most horrific war in Europe since World War II.”
A spokesman later said Merkel “maintained her decision regarding the 2008 NATO summit in Bucharest”.
Mr Zelensky had warned Ms Merkel in August 2021 that the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline was “a dangerous geopolitical weapon” that Putin could use against Europe.