U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson accused Russia of using energy as a “political tool” in Europe as he held talks with his counterpart Saturday in Warsaw, Poland.
At a news conference with Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz following the discussions, Tillerson said the U.S. is opposed to the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline, a proposed project that would connect Russia and Germany. Some Eastern European countries are also against the pipeline, which would give Russia a larger share of the natural gas market.
“Like Poland, the United States opposes the Nord Stream 2 pipeline,” Tillerson said. “We see it as undermining Europe’s overall energy security and stability and it provides Russia yet another tool to politicize energy as a political tool.”
Tillerson’s visit to Poland comes at a time when the U.S. is boosting exports of American liquefied natural gas (LNG) to central Europe and taking on Russia’s stronghold on energy supplies.
Senior U.S. officials have said Washington will help European nations diversify their energy supply so they will not be solely dependent on Russia.
On June 7, 2017, the first U.S. LNG shipment to Central Europe arrived in Poland. The State Department said at that time Washington “has worked closely with European partners to diversify European energy supplies through new sources of natural gas.”
Talks between Tillerson and Czaputowicz were held before Tillerson placed a wreath and made remarks at the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising Monument to commemorate the 73rd anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. Tillerson said the genocide that occurred at German concentration camps in Poland must never be repeated.
“On this occasion it reminds us that we can never, we can never, be indifferent to the face of evil. The Western alliance which emerged from World War Two has committed itself to ensuring the security of all, that this would never happen again.”
Tillerson’s trip to Poland is aimed at strengthening Washington’s “strategic partnership” with Warsaw in meetings with Polish leaders, with security ties and energy cooperation high on the agenda.
Tillerson also met Saturday with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and Law and Justice Party Leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski, before wrapping up his European trip and returning to Washington.