The Canadian government has come out in defense of its decision to send back the turbine critical to restoring the regular flow of gas from Russia to Germany, after coming under fire for “falling for Putin’s bluff.”
“Russia has weaponized energy by cutting off gas flows to Europe. We had hoped to take advantage of Canada’s role in maintaining the Nord Stream 1 turbines to do just that,” Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly has said, as picked up by CTV.
Joly, along with Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson, told a parliamentary committee that Ottawa decided to return the turbine, which had arrived in Canada for repairs, to maintain cohesion with its German and European allies.
“I cannot exaggerate the deep concern of the Germans (…) about not being able to access natural gas,” said Wilkinson, who confessed that the German Chancellor himself, Olaf Scholz, asked them to deny the Russian version, which assured that the turbine would not arrive.
But despite the explanations of both ministers, the opposition has questioned such reasoning, insisting before Wilkinson with questions as to why Canada did not consider it to be Putin’s “bluff.”
“This whole decision was based on the idea that there is some confidence, some belief that Putin would, in fact, continue to provide gasoline to Germany,” opposition MP Heather McPherson has questioned.
“We already knew the deception was there. So now what we’ve done is we’ve weakened our sanctions regime, we’ve weakened Canada’s position with Ukraine, and yet we haven’t actually helped get gasoline to Germany,” she has added.
The turbine has been at the center of a weeks-long saga over dwindling natural gas flows, in what senior German and EU officials say is a politically motivated move by Moscow aimed at provoking an energy crisis in Europe, DPA has reported.
Moscow claims Gazprom was forced to drastically reduce gas deliveries to Germany due to the absence of the turbine, while German officials have repeatedly maintained that the move was an attempt by Russia to punish Germany for its stance on the Ukraine war and for imposing sanctions on Russia.
The turbine has already been shipped to Germany, where it is being temporarily stored before being transported to Russia for installation.