Latest news

Former German Chancellor Merkel was Aware of Russia’s Gas Supply Blackmail While Still in Office


German media outlet Handelsblatt reported on June 6 that former Chancellor Angela Merkel was aware of Russia’s intentions to limit gas supplies to Europe as a means to pressure the launch of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. Citing classified documents, Handelsblatt revealed that Merkel concealed this information before stepping down from office in late 2021.

The German government suspected Russia of blackmail, according to a note from the country’s Ministry of Economy dating back to August 2021. Handelsblatt cited the document, stating that by creating a gas deficit, Russian authorities might attempt to expedite Nord Stream 2's commissioning before German authorities could certify it.

The document described Russia’s behavior as potentially having “dramatic consequences,” noting a slow fill rate of gas storage facilities. By July 2021, Gazprom had only filled its European gas storage halfway.

This note was reportedly sent to then-Economy Minister and close Merkel ally Peter Altmaier, who informed the cabinet ministers. However, in October 2021, Merkel told Handelsblatt that she saw no signs of Russia reducing gas supplies to Europe.

In late October 2021, Vladimir Putin instructed Gazprom to increase gas volumes in European storage. At that time, Nord Stream 2 construction was nearly complete. However, in February 2022, following Russia’s “recognition” of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics, Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s newly appointed German government announced the suspension of Nord Stream 2's certification process.

In late September 2022, a series of explosions damaged the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines in the Baltic Sea. The perpetrators remain unknown, with suspicions pointing to both Ukrainian and Russian involvement. Investigations are ongoing, with Sweden and Denmark discontinuing theirs while Germany’s inquiry persists.

See all