Ottawa will send Russian gas turbine to Germany to avoid breaching own sanctions
The Canadian government has decided to sidestep its own restrictions by returning crucial equipment, needed for maintenance on the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline, back to Russia via Germany, despite criticism and pressure from Ukraine.
Canada’s minister of natural resources, Jonathan Wilkinson, announced the move on Saturday evening, insisting it would guarantee “Europe’s ability to access reliable and affordable energy as they continue to transition away from Russian oil and gas.”
The decision follows Berlin’s pleas for Ottawa to return Russian gas pipeline components amid a growing energy shortage. In the meantime, according to Reuters and Ukrainian news, the Ukrainian government was pressuring Canada not to return the equipment, arguing that the precedent would erode anti-Russia sanctions.
Explaining its decision, the Canadian government said that “absent a necessary supply of natural gas, the German economy will suffer very significant hardship and Germans themselves will be at risk of being unable to heat their homes as winter approaches.”
In a separate move on Saturday, Ottawa annouced a new package of sanctions against Moscow that “will apply to land and pipeline transport and the manufacturing of metals and of transport, computer, electronic and electrical equipment, as well as of machinery.”
Last month, Russian gas monopoly Gazprom reduced the flow through the Nord Stream pipeline to 40% of capacity, citing operational risks after the equipment, built in Canada by Siemens, was sent to Montreal for maintenance but was blocked from being returned on time. On Friday, Moscow said gas supplies to Europe would be increased if the turbine was returned.
The dispute comes amid a broader standoff between Russia and the EU, with Brussels trying to wean the bloc off Russian energy in an attempt to decrease its reliance on the sanctions-hit nation.