Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zlensky said today that the current conflict between Kyiv and Moscow could lead to a “large-scale” war between Russia and Ukraine.
“I suppose so,” replied the head of state when asked about tensions with Moscow during the Forum Yes Brainstorming 2021 taking place in Kyiv.
Zelensky said a full-scale war with Russia “would be the worst thing that could happen” but stressed that “unfortunately it is a possibility”.
“I think it would be Russia’s biggest mistake,” he added.
On the other hand, the Ukrainian head of state said that he would like to meet with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, in the framework of a new meeting of the Normandy Quartet to find solutions to the situation in eastern Ukraine.
The last diplomatic meeting in the quartet format took place in December 2019.
In Moscow, Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov immediately regretted Zelensky’s words about the possibility of war, adding that he did not want to comment on “apocalyptic scenarios.”
The Normandy Quartet is formed by Russia, Ukraine, France, and Germany.
The Contact Group, another diplomatic format on the situation in the region, is composed of Ukraine, Russia, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
The conflict in eastern Ukraine between the Ukrainian army and pro-Russian militias broke out in the spring of 2014 and to date has claimed the lives of 14,000 people.
Zelensky’s statements come on the same day that the completion of the controversial Franco-German pipeline Nord Stream 2 was announced.
Shortly before Zelensky’s statements in Kyiv, the spokesman for the head of state of Ukraine told France Presse that the country was going to “fight” against the exploitation of the pipeline.
“The President (Volodymyr Zelensky) has always said that Ukraine will fight against this Russian political project, during and after construction and after distribution starts,” said Segiy Nikirof, spokesman for the Ukrainian head of state.
Gazprom company announced today that the Nord Stream 2 pipeline between Russia and Germany is “completely completed”.
The project was even postponed due to threats of US sanctions and geopolitical tensions.
“After a morning working meeting at Gazprom, [group general manager] Alexei Miller said at 8:45 am in Moscow (5:45 am in Lisbon) that the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline is completely completed.”, the energy company said in a message released through the Telegram messaging network.
The undersea pipeline in the Baltic Sea is expected to double Russian gas deliveries to Germany.
For the United States and European detractors of the project, the pipeline will increase Europe’s energy dependence on Russia on a lasting basis.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin have insisted over the past few years that Nord Stream was a purely commercial project, without any political character.
The new pipeline, with a transport capacity of 55 billion cubic meters of gas annually, has a length of 1,230 kilometers under the Baltic Sea establishing the same route as Nord Stream 1, which has been operating since 2012.
In recent years, the project has been criticized by Washington, as well as by Ukraine, which sees the geopolitical position weakened by the operation of the gas pipeline between Russia and Germany.
The position of the United States changed with the Administration of President Joe Biden, which reached a compromise between Washington and Berlin on the matter.
For Ukraine, the pipeline could deprive Kyiv of at least 1.5 billion dollars a year that it receives for the transit of Russian gas through Ukrainian territory and destined for the European bloc.
In August, the German chancellor said in Ukraine that Berlin would “do everything” to extend the Russian-Ukrainian transit contract that formally expires in 2024.
At the same time, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky asked Merkel to consider Nord Stream 2 a “dangerous geopolitical weapon”.
Source: with agencies