‘A very difficult decision’: Prime Minister Trudeau defends the return of the Russia-Germany pipeline turbines

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau defends Canada’s decision to grant a Canadian company a waiver from federal sanctions, allowing it to return turbines from a Russian pipeline supplying natural gas to Germany.

The prime minister told reporters Wednesday that while it was “a very difficult decision,” Russia is trying to “arm itself with energy as a way to create division among allies,” and that Canada’s move was made to help to Germany in the short term. as he and other European countries work to reduce their dependence on Russian oil and gas.

“Canada has been one of the strongest countries in the world in its support of Ukraine,” the prime minister said, pledging continued support, including sanctions and the billions of dollars in military and humanitarian aid offered to date.

The turbines, part of the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, were shipped to Siemens Canada in Montreal for repair, but once the federal government imposed sanctions on Russia’s state-owned energy company Gazprom, the company was prevented from returning the equipment.

Canada faced pressure from both Russia and Germany to return the turbines to Germany, fearing the risk of further energy instability. The energy giant claimed that it needed the turbines to continue supplying Germany, after it had significantly slowed the flow of gas through the pipeline.

“Countries in Europe, particularly Germany, have also taken a big step in their support of Ukraine, and we must stand together, particularly in the face of Russia’s attempts to weaponize energy policy, to divide us among ourselves,” Trudeau said. . “And that is exactly why we made this difficult decision, to be there for our allies, to ensure that in Europe, not only governments, but also populations, remain steadfast and generous in their support of Ukraine.”

The controversial decision, although backed by the US and the EU, has been roundly condemned by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, as well as federal opposition parties. And, now he is facing a legal challenge.

On Tuesday night, Ukraine’s World Congress announced that it had filed a request for judicial review of the decision with the Federal Court, arguing that granting the permit “was not reasonable, transparent or properly authorized.”

“For the past few days, the Ukrainian World Congress together with the Ukrainian Canadian Congress has been pleading with the Government of Canada to revoke the waiver… To date, our efforts have been unsuccessful and we have had no choice but to take legal action.” , Congress said in a statement.

Weather initially billed by the Minister of Natural Resources Jonathan Wilkinson as a “time-limited, revocable permit,” the agreement allows for the movement of six turbines that his office says “follow a regular maintenance schedule” that will be allowed to continue in the future, with the ability for the revocable permit anytime.

Supporting Canada’s decision to return the turbines, the European Commission says, in doing so, “one of the excuses Russia uses to reduce gas flows has been removed.”

“The Commission continues to work closely with its international partners, including Canada and the United States, to ensure Europe’s energy security for the coming winter,” the Commission said.

More are coming.

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