May 22, 2022

the United States threatens to use the gas weapon in the event of a Russian invasion

The United States assured Thursday that the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline would be stillborn in the event of a Russian invasion of Ukraine, calling on Russia to “come back to the negotiating table” despite its rather cold first reaction to the American rejection of its key requirements

The fate of Nord Stream 2, this controversial gas pipeline between Russia and Germany, which Washington never wanted but which is now completed with the blessing of Berlin, will certainly be at the heart of the next visit of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to the White House on February 7 to meet with US President Joe Biden.

Accused of timidity and procrastination, the German government tried to clarify its position on Thursday. The “strong sanctions” being prepared by the West in the event of a Russian offensive also include Nord Stream 2, which is still awaiting commissioning, said the head of German diplomacy Annalena Baerbock.

Based on these words and on its “conversations” with Germany, the American government was even more categorical. “I want to be clear with you today: if Russia invades Ukraine, one way or another, Nord Stream 2 will not go ahead”, warned the number 3 of diplomacy American, Victoria Nuland.

The United States also seized the UN Security Council on Thursday, calling for a meeting on Monday because of the “clear threat” posed in their eyes by Russia to “international peace and security”.

“Clear possibility” of an invasion

President Biden called his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday and reassured him that the United States would respond “resolutely” in the event of a Russian invasion, with the two men discussing the possibility of increased economic assistance, according to a press release. American administration.

The Democrat also raised the “clear possibility that the Russians could invade Ukraine in February”, a date already mentioned by American intelligence, the spokesperson for the American National Security Council said on Twitter.

The West therefore continues to put pressure on Russia, which has shown itself to be reserved, to say the least, the day after receiving written responses from the United States and NATO to its demands to break the current impasse. “The ball is in their court”, “we hope that Moscow will study what we are offering them and return to the negotiating table”, said Victoria Nuland, reaffirming that in the event of “rejection” of this “offer of dialogue the sanctions would be “very painful”.

Some 100,000 Russian soldiers have been camped on the Ukrainian border with their armored vehicles since the end of 2021. Russia denies any plan of invasion, but considers itself threatened by the expansion of NATO for twenty years as well as by Western support for its Ukrainian neighbor. She demanded the formal end to the enlargement of the Atlantic Alliance, in particular to Ukraine, and a return to Western military deployments at the 1997 borders.

The United States and NATO, unsurprisingly, formally rejected these key demands from Moscow on Wednesday, while again opening the door to negotiations on reciprocal limits on the deployment of short and medium range missiles from the two rival nuclear powers. in Europe as well as military exercises near the enemy camp. “We cannot say that our points of view have been taken into account”, regretted the spokesman of the Kremlin, Dmitry Peskov.

The head of diplomacy Sergei Lavrov also noted the absence of a “positive response” to the main Russian claim. But he did not close the door to dialogue, noting that we could “hope for the start of a serious conversation on secondary issues”.

Beijing supports Moscow

President Zelensky had earlier welcomed the “constructive” diplomatic exercise the day before in Paris, where Russian and Ukrainian negotiators met for the first time in months, under Franco-German aegis, to discuss the conflict between Kiev and pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Slow but rare progress, the emissaries announced a new meeting for the beginning of February in Berlin. France saw it as a Russian “good signal”, before an interview between Presidents Emmanuel Macron and Vladimir Putin scheduled for Friday.

Russia can be satisfied with the explicit support of China, which has defended the “reasonable concerns” of the Kremlin. But Washington also called on Beijing “to use its influence on Moscow” to avoid a conflict in Ukraine, which would “not be good for China either”, because of its “significant impact on the world economy” and “the energy sector”.