The European Union does not need a new Nord Stream gas pipeline that Russia's gas behemoth Gazprom is planning to build, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius said, adding that the project will do great harm to Ukraine.
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"First of all, the European Union does not need it all. Russian supplies now come via three channels. These are the Nord Stream, the Yamal-Europe pipeline, which runs through Belarus, and the so-called Ukraine transit gas pipeline. If they double supplies via Nord Stream, then the goal is practically more political than economic, (which is) to completely neutralize the Ukraine transit pipeline," the minister told BNS.

"That would cause great harm to Ukraine. It would lose a great deal of transit revenues and that would unbalance gas distribution in Europe," he said.

Linkevičius said that the European Commission should say how these plans might affect the interests of EU member states and the gas market.

Petras Auštrevičius, a Lithuanian member of the European Parliament, said on Wednesday that he had initiated a request to the European Commission to explain what impact the planned Nord Stream expansion would have on the security of EU countries and Ukraine and on their political and economic environment.

"New Russian gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea are meant to destroy European solidarity. This is what is happening today," he said in a press release.

Gazprom in mid-June signed a letter of intent with Germany's E.ON, Dutch Shell and Austria's OMV to build two additional strings of Nord Stream from Russia to Germany, which would increase the pipeline's annual capacity by 55 billion cubic meters.

The 1,224-kilometer gas pipeline runs from Vyborg in Russia under the Baltic Sea to Greifswald in Germany. The first two strings of Nord Stream have an annual capacity of 55 billion cubic meters.

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