Poland says Nord Stream 2 would harm regional security

EnergyAssociated Press

A planned gas pipeline to link Russia with Germany that bypasses Ukraine and Poland threatens central Europe's security, Poland's new prime minister said Monday.

The so-called Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline would be the second to carry Russian gas directly to Germany and Western Europe via the Baltic Sea instead of through Poland and Ukraine.

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Poland and other countries in the region that are dependent on Russian gas are strongly opposed to this project, which economically links Germany with Russia and bypasses them, and allows Russia's Gazprom to dictate prices.

Morawiecki said Monday the planned pipeline could also add to instability in Ukraine. In the eastern part of the country that border the European Union, more than 10,000 people have been killed in fighting between Ukrainian troops and Russia-backed separatists since 2014.

Seeking to cut the dependence on Russia, Poland is importing liquid gas from the United States and plans to open a pipeline with Norway. It wants to become a gas and energy distribution hub for the countries in the region.

Morawiecki also denied reports that Germany was ready to give up the Nord Stream 2 project if Poland abandoned talk of World War II reparations from Berlin.

"We are not linking these issues, absolutely," Morawiecki said on Radio Szczecin.

Poland's conservative ruling Law and Justice part has opened the issue of war reparations, arguing that Poland was the worst-hit victim of Nazi Germany during World War Two, and was later not allowed to receive reparations under the Moscow-imposed communist regime that followed.

Polish lawmakers are weighing whether to empower the government to officially seek reparations from Berlin.