Top Trump aide condemns EU dependence on Russian gas

Kiev (AFP) –


US President Donald Trump's national security advisor on a visit to Kiev Friday condemned the proposed Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline between Russia and Germany which will bypassing Ukraine, stressing Europe was taking a strategic risk by relying on Russian gas.

"It's not just the economic significance of being heavily dependent on Russia for the supply of natural gas and petroleum, but the strategic significance of it as well," John Bolton told journalists after meeting Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko during a visit to Kiev.

He said that one of the concerns Trump has about Nord Stream 2 is "why Europe would voluntarily tie itself even more to Russian energy supplies."

Trump has repeatedly condemned the Nord Stream 2 project which the Russian gas giant Gazprom hopes to launch by the end of 2019.

It is expected it will double the delivery capacity between Russia and Germany via the Baltic Sea and therefore avoid the route via Ukraine.

Currently Gazprom supplies 35 percent of the EU's gas and half of that goes through Ukraine.

"One alternative there for Ukraine and for other countries is to look for other sources of natural gas," Bolton said.

"There are other potential sources of natural gas as well from the major gas fields found in the eastern Mediterranean off Israel, from America's capacity to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) and a variety of other possible sources," he added.

At a meeting on Saturday with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Angela Merkel said Ukraine should "play a role in the transit of gas to Europe" even after Nord Stream 2 is launched.

Putin said the pipeline project "addresses the growing demand of the European economy for energy resources".

On Wednesday, he said he was ready for "honest" competition with all countries.

The United States, a major producer of natural gas, has recently embarked on a commercial offensive in search of new markets, an idea which is supported by Trump.