Canada will return a repaired Russian turbine to Germany needed for maintenance on the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline, Canada’s minister of natural resources said in a statement on Saturday.
The Canadian government, which is issuing a “time-limited and revocable permit” to exempt the return of turbines from its Russian sanctions, said the move would support “Europe’s ability to access reliable and affordable energy as they continue to transition away from Russian oil and gas.”
Canada also announced it would expand sanctions against Russia’s energy sector to include industrial manufacturing.
Canada’s new sanctions “will apply to land and pipeline transport and the manufacturing of metals and of transport, computer, electronic and electrical equipment, as well as of machinery.”
Russia’s Gazprom cut capacity along the Nord Stream 1 pipeline from Russia to Europe to just 40 per cent of usual levels last month, citing the delayed return of equipment being serviced by Germany’s Siemens Energy in Canada. Siemens Energy did not immediately return a request for comment Saturday.
Canada said “absent a necessary supply of natural gas, the German economy will suffer very significant hardship and Germans themselves will be at risk of being unable to heat their homes as winter approaches.”
The German government, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment Saturday, on Friday confirmed it received a positive signal from Canada regarding a turbine needed for Nord Stream 1 maintenance.
Alexandra Chyczij, national president of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, said in a statement Saturday “our community is deeply disappointed by the Canadian government’s decision to bow to Russian blackmail.”
The group said Canada is setting “a dangerous precedent that will lead to the weakening of the sanctions regime imposed on Russia.”
The turbine would be sent to Germany first, which will then deliver it to Russia’s state-controlled Gazprom, a government source told Reuters earlier this week.
A decision to return the turbine had already been taken, a source familiar with the issue told Reuters on Thursday.
The Kremlin on Friday said it would increase gas supplies to Europe if the turbine were returned.
Ukraine has opposed Canada’s handing over the turbine to Gazprom and Kyiv believes such a move would flout sanctions on Russia, a Ukrainian energy ministry source said on Thursday.
Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly said Saturday in a statement that “Canada is unwavering in its support of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity … Canada will not relent in pressuring the Russian regime.”
(Reporting by Steve Scherer in Ottawa and David Shepardson in Washington; editing by Sandra Maler, Lisa Shumaker and Chris Reese)