Her main goal is to stop Nord Stream 2 from being completed as it stands against the economic interests of Ukraine.
Svitlana Zalishchuk, a former journalist and parliament member for the Petro Poroshenko’s bloc, has been appointed as international affairs advisor to Naftogaz. She has also previously been the advisor to the former Prime Minister of Ukraine, Oleksiy Honcharuk. Her job will be to coordinate Naftogaz’s cooperation with international partners, where her main job will be to stop Nord Stream 2 from being completed.
“Over the past several years, the Naftogaz team has managed to hold back the completion of Nord Stream 2 significantly. Yet we are far from being victorious, and Ukraine still needs to win its battle against the Russian geopolitical pipeline,” Zalishchuk said in a press release.
“We are currently working on several scenarios to stop Nord Stream 2. We need to mobilize all branches of power in Ukraine and ensure clear and consistent coordination with our international partners who realize the threat posed by the Russian pipeline to all of Europe. These are my priorities as I see them,” Zalishchuk commented.
President: Nord Stream 2 is a threat
The U.S. has previously put sanctions on Nord Stream 2, which is to deliver gas from Russia and to the EU. Russia already provides natural gas to the EU, but the EU’s domestic gas production is in decline and needs more supply and stability. Nord Stream 2 will allow Russia to export more natural gas to the EU, but the U.S is against the project, arguing that it makes the EU too dependent on Russia.
Some European politicians argue that the EU is simply against the project due to economic concerns, where the U.S. might be another alternative for EU gas imports. Nord Stream 2 is also an issue for Ukraine. Today, a large chunk of Russian gas exports to the EU are going through Ukraine, and Ukraine is earning money on being a transit country.
“This is an energy war. As in any war, one cannot fight without unity. Someone will definitely lose. If Nord Stream 2 is completed, not only Ukraine will lose,” the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said recently, according to Ukrinform.
“Nord Stream is another blow, an energy blow. (…) The same is with gas, a food war. (…) The same is a vaccine war when there is no supply of vaccines to one country or another, and they blackmail you. This is a hybrid war. So what’s the difference between which troops are fighting against you? We have to remember that this (Nord Stream 2) is not a matter of business for Europe and Russia. This is a matter of war,” the President said.
Biden is backing away from Nord Stream 2 fight
However, the U.S. has recently decided to step away from sanctions against Nord Stream 2, which is raising concerns in Ukraine. According to US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, “it is in the national interest of the United States to waive the application of sanctions on Nord Stream 2,” adding that it was “consistent” with their goal to “rebuild relationships with our allies and partners in Europe.”
In Kyiv Post, the editorial opinion is that Biden has decided that Germany’s commercial interests with Russia are more important than Ukraine. Despite these new developments, Naftogaz is not giving up on stopping Nord Stream 2 from completion. The appointment of Svitlana Zalishchuk as an advisor is just one step to stop Nord Stream 2.
“The risks of abandoning sanctions from the new U.S. administration were clear. We expected the new administration would seek certain compromises with Germany, in as much as it is an important NATO partner for them. In turn, Germany, at least until the autumn elections, will try to complete the construction of Nord Stream 2 as soon as possible and put pressure on the United States. As this risk was obvious, I expected my predecessors to plan steps ahead,” said Naftogaz CEO Yuriy Vitrenko in a press release.