"I would say the Kerch incident is a reminder that the less infrastructure you have, the less gas infrastructure you have bypassing Ukraine because of Nord Stream 2, the weaker the deterrent – deterrence is to Russian acts of military aggression," the official said in Brussels.
State Department officials raise the Nord Stream 2 project with German officials on every occasion, he went on to say.
"And we’ve seen some indications in our recent conversations with German officials that they’ve absorbed that message more plainly after Kerch. It’s harder for them to just say this is a commercial project," the official said.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin said earlier on Tuesday that he has discussed the deployment of ships to the Sea of Azov with his NATO counterparts in Brussels.
"We have discussed the issue of sending ships to the Sea of Azov," Klimkin told reporters after the meeting.
On November 25, Ukraine's Berdyansk and Nikopol gunboats and the Yany Kapu tugboat illegally crossed the Russian maritime border as they sailed toward the Kerch Strait, the entrance to the Sea of Azov. The Ukrainian vessels and their 24 crew members were arrested by Russia after failing to respond to a demand to stop.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that the incident was a provocation prepared in advance as a pretext to introduce martial law in Ukraine ahead of the country’s presidential election. The martial law would affect the campaign, set to start in late December, amid Poroshenko's low approval ratings, Putin said.