European Commission ready to discuss the format of consultations on Nord Stream 2

. Responding to a note verbale from the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs received on July 22, in which Kyiv requested consultations referring to Articles 274 and 338 of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, its representative affirmed:  “The EU continues to attach great importance to Ukraine’s energy security. We remain fully available to discuss any issues of concern for Ukraine.”

Construction of Nord Stream 2 should be completed on Monday, the day before Ukraine’s Independence Day

, reports Deutsche Welle. The €9.5 billion Russia—Germany natural gas pipeline is designed to render Ukraine’s Soviet-era east-west gas pipeline redundant. Coupled with Nord Stream 1, the two Baltic sea bed pipelines will have a combined annual capacity of 110 billion cubic meters of gas. After Gazprom’s gas transmission contract with Ukraine expires in 2024, Ukraine is expected to lose $1.5 billion a year in transmission fees.

“US-German gas deal is a disservice to Ukraine,”

 headlines an editorial in London’s Financial Times. “Russian threat to Europe’s security cannot be ‘parked’ to focus on China.” Editors at the business newspaper write: “Nord Stream has always been at root a geopolitical project… Kyiv is justifiably worried that for Moscow, no longer having to rely on Ukraine’s pipeline for lucrative energy exports would remove a key constraint on further aggression.”

“Putin will use weaponized pipeline to blackmail Europe,

” headlines an essay in the Atlantic Council by Inna Sovsun, a Rada member for the Holos party. “By undermining the country’s status as a key transit route to the EU, Moscow will succeed in dramatically reducing Ukraine’s geopolitical importance,” she warns. “This could pave the way for a major escalation in Russia’s ongoing military intervention in Ukraine.”

The Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, has told a US Congressional committee Monday that Nord Stream 2 is a “fait accompli.”

Referring to worries that this Ukraine bypass pipeline will free Russia to attack Ukraine, Blinken told the House Foreign Affairs Committee: “We have agreements in place, upfront, to come back on any activities by Russia that are challenging the security or economic security of any of those countries.” Russian officials say the $11 billion; 1,230 km pipeline is 95% complete and will be ready to carry gas this fall.