In September, Russian energy giant Gazprom and its European partner companies — E.On, Shell, OMV, BASF and Engie — signed a shareholders agreement on the project. It has raised concerns from a number of EU states and the European Commission.
"Nord Stream 2 is a purely commercial project. It is not something invented by the Kremlin as some people would say. It is not even an initiative of the Russian Gazprom as such. It is a project launched at the initiative of European energy companies," the envoy said in English.
He added that objections against the project are primarily linked to political considerations, "like the need to support Ukraine through maintaining gas transit through its territory."
"In their eyes, Nord Stream-2 might have huge political significance, but also some economic significance, because Russia is paying Ukraine for the transit, and evidently, should that transit be cut down or stopped altogether, then those countries that are keen on supporting the current government in Ukraine will need to fill the ensuing financial gap somehow," Chizhov said.
The project has been met with opposition from some EU member states, including Poland and the Baltic countries, over fears it would increase European energy dependence on Russia. At the same time, Berlin reaffirmed its interest in the project, saying that it would bring more benefits for EU members and provide energy safety and security to the 28-nation bloc.