The other day, Russian energy minister Alexander Novak made a very controversial statement that gas supplies through the Nord Stream 2 pipeline could start as early as this year.
Struck with this unexpected suggestion, we tried to figure out how realistic it actually is – in our piece "Why Alexander Novak decided to 'launch' Nord Stream 2 in 2019".
We couldn't help but mention Novak’s colleague, Gazprom CEO head Alexei Miller, who said that the company would complete the of pipeline construction within the next five weeks, that is, by the end of 2019, and, therefore, it would be impossible to launch gas supplies through the pipeline this year because the testing process alone will certainly take a bit of time.
Of course, Novak's are nothing but an element of a "psy-ops" targeting Ukraine as Moscow is desperately trying to persuade Kyiv to sign an agreement on gas transit on terms favorable to Russia. A similar scenario was played out in 2009. Since then, a lot of time has passed, but the tactics and manner of Russian blackmailing hasn't changed much. And therefore, the Kremlin's game is more than predictable both for Ukraine and for European partners.
At the same time, Novak's statement is getting even more ridiculous against the background of Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak's claim that the pipe will be launched no earlier than mid-2020.
Frankly, this statement is just as controversial because Kozak didn't specify whether the launch will be in the test mode or at full capacity. Of course he didn't since he realized that the full-fledged launch of Nord Stream 2 will be possible no earlier than next fall. But even with such ambiguity toward the real state of affairs, his words turned out to be a slap in the Novak's face while the latter tried so hard to make people believe in illusion.
But that's not it… All these statements voiced by major officials seem like some wild farce now that the reports came of the second string of Gazprom's pipeline went afloat in Baidaratskaya Bay off the coast of the Yamal Peninsula in the Kara Sea.
The first string (No.1) had gone afloat back in 2018, while now it's string No. 4 (a reserve one), which has become affected.
Such emergency accidents lead to concerns about quality of their laying. Indeed, how are the works being performed in the Baltic Sea these days as big Russian bosses even fail to synchronize their statements on the project deadlines, or, better say, lies.