• Project would cut Russian reliance on Ukraine for transit
  • Agreement `ignores Polish interests,' Polish president says

The planned expansion of a natural gas pipeline directly from Russia to Germany hurts European Union unity when dealing with the conflict in Ukraine, according to Poland’s President Andrzej Duda.

The agreement signed last week between Russia’s Gazprom PJSC and European companies including Royal Dutch Shell Plc, EON AG and Engie to expand the Nord Stream pipeline under the Baltic Sea, “completely neglects Polish interests,” Duda said Tuesday at an economic forum in Krynica, Poland.

The Gazprom-controlled Nord Stream-2 project envisages two pipelines directly from Russia to Germany, bypassing transit countries including Ukraine and Poland, with an annual capacity of almost 15 percent of current EU demand when it starts in 2019. The link would reduce Russia’s dependence on Ukraine, a linchpin in gas supplies to Europe, amid a conflict between the ex-Soviet nations.

“The insecurity in this context stems from the egoism of some nations and their complete disregard for the interest of other nations,” Duda said. “That makes it hard to believe in Europe’s unity.”

Before Gazprom can start pumping gas via Nord Stream-2, Russia will need to reach an accord with the EU to comply with the bloc’s energy rules, which require that gas marketing and transport be separated.

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