Ukraine criticizes Canada for returning pipeline turbines

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OTTAWA — The Ukrainian government is asking Canada to reconsider its decision to allow the delivery of turbines from a Russia-Europe gas pipeline to Germany, saying it sets a “dangerous precedent” for sanctions against the Russian regime. .

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Canada’s Minister of Natural Services, Jonathan Wilkinson, announced on social media on Saturday that the turbines of the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline – which supplies natural gas from Russia to Germany – which had been sent to Montreal for scheduled repairs would be allowed to be returned.

In June, Siemens Energy said Canadian sanctions imposed on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine meant the company could not return the turbines.

In its recent announcement, Wilkinson said turbine maker Siemens Canada would be granted a “time-limited and revocable permit” to return equipment, which would essentially grant it an exemption.

He said the delivery was necessary to support « Europe’s ability to access reliable and affordable energy » as it tries to move away from reliance on Russian oil and gas. The government says it plans to return six turbines.

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In a statement released on Sunday, Ukraine’s foreign and energy ministries expressed « deep disappointment » with Canada’s decision.

« This dangerous precedent violates international solidarity, goes against the principle of the rule of law and will have only one consequence: it will reinforce Moscow’s feeling of impunity, » it read.

Prior to Canada’s decision, German Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck had expressed concerns that Russia could cut off natural gas deliveries to Europe after scheduled maintenance. The warning followed Russia’s previous cut in the flow of natural gas to Germany, as well as to Italy, Austria, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

While Gazprom, the Russian energy giant, blamed the curtailment of the gas pipeline to Germany on repairs in Canada, German officials questioned the explanation for technical issues and instead dismissed it as a political decision.

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The Ukrainian government expressed similar concerns in its statement, saying Russia’s threats amounted to « blackmail without technical justification ».

« Russia is able to continue supplying gas to Germany in its entirety without this turbine, » he said.

Germany, which is Europe’s largest economy, warned last month that it was in crisis following Russia’s decision to cut the amount of gas passing through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline by 60%.

Alexandra Chyczij, president of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, expressed disappointment with Canada’s decision, saying Ottawa bows to Russian threats to cut off gas supplies by meeting Germany’s demand.

« Canada will not only contravene its policy of isolating Russia, it will set a dangerous precedent that will lead to the weakening of the sanctions regime imposed on Russia, » Chyczij said in a statement.

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“This decision will ensure that the coffers of the Russian state budget will continue to be filled with European money which will be used to finance the Russian genocide against the Ukrainian people. ”

Chyczij said Canada has been put in a position to decide whether to respond to an ally’s request or « hold firm to the sanctions imposed on Gazprom and Nordstream 1 ».

Three Tory MPs also issued a statement on Sunday saying allowing the equipment to return undermines sanctions Canada has imposed on Russia at a time when it should instead become an alternative gas supplier to Europe.

« Allowing the return of the gas turbine sets a dangerous precedent for retreat on Putin’s blackmail of Europe and will negatively impact Canada’s position on the world stage, » read a joint statement from the Conservatives Michael Chong, James Bezan and Pierre Paul-Hus.

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In light of criticism of Canada’s decision, Wilkinson’s office pointed to the minister’s earlier statement. He said not only was the German economy vulnerable, but « Germans themselves may not be able to heat their homes as winter approaches ».

The statement also noted that Canada has imposed sanctions on more than 1,600 people since Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in 2014.

On the same day Wilkinson announced the turbines would be returned, Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly announced that Canada planned to apply a new round of sanctions targeting Russia’s land and pipeline transportation and manufacturing sectors. .

— With files from the Associated Press

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