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Ukraine seeks to block return of gas turbine to Russia

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The Ukrainian government is pressuring Canada not to return a gas turbine to Russia that could boost the supply of Russian fuel to Germany, Reuters and a Ukrainian news site have reported. Kiev argues the precedent would erode anti-Russia sanctions.

Previously, Russian gas monopoly Gazprom reduced the flow through the Nord Stream pipeline to 40% of capacity, claiming that Germany failed to return a Siemens gas turbine from maintenance in Canada. The crucial piece of equipment had become stuck due to Ottawa’s sanctions against Russia.

According to sources in the Ukrainian government cited on Thursday and on Friday by Reuters and the Ukrainian news website Evropeyskaya Pravda, Kiev was informed that Canada had decided to return the turbine. Officials in Ukraine argued that it was a bad move.

 

“If, God forbid, this decision is approved, we will undoubtedly appeal to our European colleagues that their approach must be reassessed,” a source in Ukraine’s Energy Ministry was quoted as saying by Reuters. “Because, if countries do not follow decisions they have agreed about sanctions, how can we talk about solidarity?” 

Both outlets said Ukrainian Energy Minister German Galushchenko had lobbied Canada not to return the turbine, claiming that Russia could ramp up gas supplies to Germany. The Ukrainian newspaper said the minister had sent a two-page letter to his Canadian counterpart, Jonathan Wilkinson, on June 22, in which he explained that more Russian gas could be pumped through Ukraine.

Kiev is concerned that by bowing down to what it considers Russian energy blackmail, Canada would set a bad precedent for the Western sanctions regime.

Germany activated the second phase of its gas emergency plan after Russia reduced supplies through Nord Stream. Berlin reportedly asked Ottawa to return the turbine before 10 days of scheduled maintenance starts on the pipeline next week.

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