The realization of Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline project agreed by Gazprom with E.ON, BASF/Wintershall, OMV, ENGIE and Royal Dutch Shell does not only undermine interests of Ukraine and Slovakia as key countries transmitting Russian gas to Europe. Another redundant pipeline controlled by Gazprom will increase the European Union’s dependence on Russia, said Andriy Kobolyev, CEO of Naftogaz of Ukraine, during his visit to Slovakia.

“Both Nord Stream-2 and Turkish Stream pipelines provide additional choice, and more choice is a great thing. However, it is a great thing not for the European consumers but for their Russian supplier. It will be Russia that decides where, to whom and on which political conditions it is going to supply its gas in Europe,” noted Kobolyev.

Russia has already attempted the first ultimatum of this kind in January 2015, when Alexei Miller, Gazprom’s CEO, confronted Maroš Šefčovič, Vice President of the European Commission in charge of the Energy Union, with a claim that Gazprom was going to supply gas via Turkish Stream instead of via Ukraine and Slovakia. This change of the traditional route would be made regardless of Europe’s readiness or willingness to accept gas at the border of Turkey.

Such a threat remains a bluff as long as the redundant pipelines Nord Stream-2 and Turkish Stream are not completed. Europe should stand as one to protect its interests and prevent construction of new routes of Russian gas delivery controlled by Gazprom. The more choices of gas delivery Russia has, the higher is its bargaining power in relations with the EU buyers. The Europeans would be in a much stronger position focusing on expansion of their own choices of gas suppliers.

The traditional route passing through Ukraine and Slovakia is a direct, robust and reliable way to transport gas from Russia to the EU. It is also independent of Gazprom.