“Mistake” in not raising objections to Nord Stream 2, German President says – POLITICO

BERLIN – German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier conceded on Monday that holding on to the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project between Russia and Germany for so long was a mistake.

“My adherence to Nord Stream 2 was clearly a mistake,” Steinmeier said in Berlin, according to Deutsch media. “We clung to bridges that Russia no longer believed in and that our partners warned us about.”

For years, the US and other German allies berated Berlin over the pipeline project, arguing it was dangerous for Ukraine and sending the wrong signal to Russian President Vladimir Putin after he annexed Crimea in 2014.

But former German Chancellor Angela Merkel maintained until the end of her term at the end of last year that Nord Stream 2 was a commercial project and had nothing to do with politics.

Her successor, Olaf Scholz, changed course in February just days before Russia invaded Ukraine, and the project is now dead.

Steinmeier, who like Scholz comes from the Social Democrats (SPD), a party that has traditionally tried to reach Russia, was bitter about this political failure.

“My assessment was that Vladimir Putin would not accept the complete economic, political and moral ruin of his country for his delusion as emperor – I was wrong like others,” he said, adding that Germany had “failed with the approach of including Russia in a common security architecture.”

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