"As Chancellor Merkel [German Chancellor Angela Merkel] has said, we also need clarity from Russia that they will keep using the Ukrainian gas transit system. The discussion about this is, as you can imagine, just going on… There need to be assurances one can rely on. Which form this would take, we will have to see," he said.
Reichel recalled that Merkel had talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin about this.
"So, we will have to see what follows, what reaction we get from Russia," he said.
The German diplomat stressed that efforts should be made to minimize risks for Ukraine linked to the construction of Nord Stream 2.
"The objection in particular Ukraine has against Nord Stream 2 is the fear that it will make the transit through Ukraine superfluous. If we can avoid this consequence, it makes the future for Ukraine look much better. This is where we are trying to go. The investment of foreign firms into the Ukrainian gas transit system is part of this," he said.
The diplomat also expressed confidence that the United States would not apply sanctions to European companies participating in Nord Stream 2.
"It would, of course, be very unusual among friends and allies, if there were sanctions imposed by the United States against companies which do business outside the United States and which are seated in allied countries, like France or Germany. ... I remain confident that this will ultimately not happen and we will arrive at a solution that respects the legitimate interests of Ukraine in continued gas transit and therefore maybe also makes the discussion a bit more rational than it has been in the past," he said.
Nord Stream 2 is a gas pipeline project intended to secure the transport of natural gas from Russia to Germany across the Baltic Sea, bypassing transit countries.
On March 27, 2017, Naftohaz Ukrainy filed a claim to the European Court of Justice demanding European Commission to revoke its decision of Oct. 28, 2016 which allows the Russian Gazprom to significantly increase the use of OPAL gas pipeline and boost gas deliveries through the Nord Stream.
In December 2016, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Polish President Andrzej Duda made joint statement calling to review the European Commission's decision, which provided Gazprom the opportunity to increase gas supplies to Europe bypassing Ukraine.
The OPAL gas pipeline connects the offshore Nord Stream pipeline with the gas infrastructure of the Czech Republic. It started operating in 2011.