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Ukraine 'Disappointed' by Canada's Decision to Return Repaired Turbine for Russian Gas Pipeline

FILE - Part of a turbine is seen at a Siemens plant in Goerlitz, Germany, July 15, 2019.
FILE - Part of a turbine is seen at a Siemens plant in Goerlitz, Germany, July 15, 2019.

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry is "deeply disappointed" by a Canadian government decision to return a repaired Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline turbine to Germany after completing maintenance on the equipment.

The decision sets a "dangerous precedent" and will "strengthen Moscow's sense of impunity," the ministry said Sunday in a statement.

The statement warns that the transfer of the turbine would allow Russia to continue to use energy as a weapon in war and calls on the Canadian government to reverse its decision.

Canada announced the decision Saturday, saying at the same time that it would expand sanctions against Russia's energy sector to include industrial manufacturing.

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said Russia could continue supplying gas to Germany through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline in full without the turbine.

It said the Nord Stream 1 compressor station where the turbine operated is equipped with several other turbines, including backups.

One turbine is in Canada, three are currently operating, and the rest "have been turned off without explanation," the ministry said.

It also reiterated its position that Russia could continue uninterrupted gas supplies to the European Union even if Nord Stream 1 were out of operation entirely by using gas-transit routes through Ukraine or Poland.

"Thus, Russia's demand for the mandatory return of the turbine to continue gas transportation is blackmail that has no technical justification," the ministry said.

Ukraine also asserted that Canada made its decision despite having said that it understood that Russia's demand had no technical basis.

Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly said in a statement the new sanctions would apply to "land and pipeline transport and the manufacturing of metals and of transport, computer, electronic and electrical equipment, as well as of machinery."

It said the sanctions would "put further pressure on a pillar of the Russian economy" and further increase pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin and his regime over "his senseless war in Ukraine."

The German corporation Siemens said Sunday that Canada's decision was a "necessary and important first step" for the delivery of the turbine.

"The political export decision is a necessary and important first step for the delivery of the turbine. Currently, our experts are working intensively on all further formal approvals and logistics," Siemens Energy said.

"Among other things, this involves legally required export- and import-control procedures. Our goal is to transport the turbine to its place of operation as quickly as possible," it added.

Russia's Gazprom last month cut the capacity along the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to 40% of normal levels, pointing to the delayed return of equipment being serviced by Germany's Siemens Energy in Canada.

The turbine will be sent to Germany first and then be delivered to Gazprom so that Canada does not breach any sanctions, a government source told Reuters.

Germany says the return of the turbine would deprive Russia of an excuse to keep supplies significantly below normal levels.

Moscow on July 8 said it would increase gas supplies to Europe if the turbine was returned.

Some information for this article came from Reuters and Agence France-Presse.