The geopolitical significance of Ukraine to Russia was recently significantly reduced with the completion of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project, which enables Russia to import her gas directly to Europe, going around Ukraine where once Russia had to go through to reach Europe’s markets.
The construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline has been completed, Russian energy company Gazprom has said.
The pipeline will double the country’s exporting capacity and runs through the Baltic Sea, from Ust Luga in the east, near St Petersburg, to the German town of Greifswald, near the country’s border with Poland.
In doing so, it bypasses Ukraine, which has traditionally been the main route for Russian gas.
Moscow and Kiev have been in dispute since Russia annexed Crimea in 2014.
Ukraine earns billions from gas transit fees, and agreed a deal last year with Russia after long-running talks.
Russia said it would not start using Nord Stream 2 until a German regulator gives its approval.
Carlos Torres Diaz, head of Power and Gas Markets at analysis firm Rystad Energy,…