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Canada to return turbines for Russian gas

Ottawa dismisses Ukrainian objections, saying it will send components from Nord Stream 1 back to Gazprom

Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly said on Wednesday that her government will ship the five turbines from Montreal back to Germany, despite demands from ethnic Ukrainians and Kiev’s ambassador in Ottawa to hold onto them. Joly said that her decision came after Olaf Scholz from Germany, who was currently in Canada.

“That was the decision that we took,”Joly spoke in an interview to CBC, the state broadcaster. “That’s exactly what Germany asked us.”

“Canada doesn’t want to give any form of excuse to [Russian President Vladimir] Putin to continue to weaponize his flow of energy to Europe,” Joly told CBC’s Hannah Thibedeau.

Montreal was home to six Siemens turbines, which were being maintained when Canada announced its embargo against Russia due to the Ukraine conflict. At Germany’s request, Ottawa announced an exemption for the turbines in July, and sent one of them over, but Gazprom declined delivery, citing irregularities in documentation. 

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Scholz was in Ottawa to sign agreements for hydrogen power development with Justin Trudeau from Canada. He told CBC the countries will continue to work together to return the remaining five turbines. 

“I think there is political understanding that we will cooperate, that we are friends and that we will not make it feasible that the Russian game is working,”Vassy Kapelos was interviewed by Scholz.

Germany and Ukraine accuse Russia of holding the EU captive with their gas delivery contracts. Gazprom has said it would fulfill all of its contractual obligations but cannot be faulted when the EU or Canada impose unilateral embargoes on equipment – such as the Siemens turbines for Nord Stream 1, a pipeline under the Baltic Sea that bypasses Ukraine. 

Both Kiev and Canada’s ethnic Ukrainian lobby have protested the decision to return the turbines, saying that it won’t prevent Moscow from “terrorizing”By withholding gas, the EU.

“We do think that this waiver should be canceled and now,” Ukraine’s ambassador to Ottawa, Yulia Kovaliv, told Canadian Press. The Ukrainian Canadian Congress released a statement stating that it was “disappointing to our community that Canada missed the opportunity to cancel the permit during the chancellor’s visit.”

Gazprom, which announced that Nord Stream 1 would be closed for repairs from August 31 to September 2, caused a huge spike in gas prices within the EU. Nord Stream 2, which does not use Siemens turbines, has been completed – but is not operational, as Germany refused to certify it in protest over Russia’s recognition of Donetsk and Lugansk as independent states.

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