Russia and Germany defend Nord Stream 2

Relations between Russia and Germany seem to have improved as the two countries share similar positions over the Nord Stream 2 pipeline and the Iran nuclear deal, it emerged after the visit of Chancellor Merkel to Moscow on Friday. Both Putin and Merkel defended the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. Merkel reiterated that the pipeline should not put an end to transit through Ukraine, while Putin confirmed that transit will continue as long as it is economically viable. Both statements do not change the picture in any way as it has been clear that Russia will still need the Ukrainian route after the completion of Nord Stream 2, but volumes will be much lower. At the same time, the two countries demonstrated unity against the US, which escalated last week pressure on Germany to stop the project. The situation is similar in regard to Iran, where the US decision to leave the nuclear deal has brought Russia closer to Germany and the EU. Overall, the growing tension between the US and EU is definitely positive for Russia, which will be looking to improve relations with the EU without any significant compromises in Eastern Ukraine.

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