Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has slammed plans for a proposed natural gas pipeline between Russia and Germany, calling it a 'political' project which constituted a 'danger' for both energy security and European competitiveness.
"Nord Stream 2 is not a commercial project. [It has] Nothing to do with economy," Porsohenko told France 24’s Marc Perelman in an interview conducted on the sidelines of this week’s NATO summit in Brussels, and aired on Thursday.
"This is a political project first to make Europe more dependent on Russia," Poroshenko said, adding the proposed pipeline not only posed a "danger" for energy security but also for the competitiveness of the EU as a whole.
The Ukrainian leader said he 'fully' supported U.S. President Donald Trump's 'estimation' in this regard, saying 'dozens of billions of dollars' were being spent 'for nothing'.
Trump on Wednesday said the gas pipeline would render Germany 'a captive of Russia', as it would lead to energy dependence on Russia.
"Germany is totally controlled by Russia because they will be getting from 60 to 70 percent of their energy from Russia with a new pipeline," Trump said on the first day of the NATO summit.
"And you tell me that is appropriate, because I think it’s not and I think it’s a very bad thing for NATO and I don’t think it should have happened.
"We are supposed to be protecting you from Russia, but why are you paying billions of dollars to Russia for energy?", he added.
Trump further berated Germany over its dealing with Russia ahead of a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on Monday.
''Germany's oil and natural gas deals with Russia are very inappropriate. Germany is paying a high price to Russia. That is why Germany is the captive of Russia,'' Trump said.
Both Germany and Russia lashed out at Trump’s criticisms with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas denying being "captives" of Russia or the U.S.
"We are not captives, neither of Russia nor the U.S. We are one of the guarantors of the free world and it will stay that way," Maas wrote on Twitter on Wednesday.
Kremlin's spokesman Dmitriy Peskov also voiced disagreement with the criticism over Germany's increasing dependence on Russia.
''Both Nord Stream pipelines are entirely commercial projects. The attacks on these projects seem like a manifesto of unfair competition,'' Peskov said Thursday, adding that Russia had been a long-serving contributor to Europe's energy security.
''We cannot agree with this because pipelines and natural gas transmission do not make a country dependent on another. Both countries become jointly dependent on each other,'' Peskov argued.
The Nord Stream II natural gas pipeline, the planned project from Russia to Germany across the Baltic Sea, is set to have an annual capacity of 55 billion cubic meters.
Germany is Russia's biggest customer in the natural gas sector with imports in 2016 of about 50 million cubic meters.
By Hale Turkes