Updated at 16:11,02-12-2016

"Belarus is unable to close any gas valves now"

Russia and Germany have created the project Nord Stream to drive out the transit countries - Poland, Czech Republic, Belarus, Ukraine, says the economist Leonid Zaika.

Today in the German city of Lubmin, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has launched the first stage of the gas pipeline Nord Stream. The ceremony was attended by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte and French Prime Minister Francois Fillon.

After reaching the design capacity, the pipeline laid through the Baltic Sea, will export to Europe fifty-five billion cubic meters of gas annually.

Aleksandr Lukashenka has repeatedly criticized the pipeline, calling it "the most evil project" of Russia. "You never know what can happen with this pipeline, which lies on a pile of ammunition", he said in January 2007. And proposed instead of Nord Stream, to lay on the territory of Belarus the second line of the Yamal-Europe gas pipeline.

Leonid Zaika in the interview to UDF.BY called Nord Stream "the strategic initiative of direct interaction between the political elites in Germany and Russia".

"It's not accidental, that former Chancellor of Germany holds one of the key positions in this gas enterprise", said the expert.

After starting the gas pipeline Belarus and Poland, in fact, disappear as important actors at the gas market, the expert thinks, which means "the Belarusian pipes become worthless, and they should be sold as soon as possible".

"As of today, the Nord Stream has already fulfilled its main function, has cleared a path for the pair strategy of Germany and Russia, despite protests and cries of Poles and Belarusians", says the economist.

According to him, the Nord Stream struck the most painful blow to Ukraine, which "gets now in real pincers".

"Ukraine had the so-called 'golden key' - 70% of the gas streams went through it. Now Ukraine from the major transit country turns into the minor one".

Belarus "is unable to close any gas valves" now.

"Close, and you sit without gas. Russia no longer needs our consent or dislikes", said Leonid Zaika.