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GERMANY AND RUSSIA

Russian energy imports ‘essential’ to Europeans’ lives, says German Chancellor

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz cautioned Monday against banning Russian oil and gas as part of Western sanctions against Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine, saying doing so could put Europe's energy security at risk.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Monday. Photo:
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Monday. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-Pool | Michael Kappeler

Scholz said that Germany welcomed “all international efforts to respond to the Russian invasion of Ukraine with deep and targeted sanctions”.

He added that the sanctions against Russian financial institutions, the Central Bank in Moscow and more than 500 individuals give a clear message. 

“The same applies to export restrictions on important goods,” said Scholz.

The sanctions were designed so that they “hit Russia hard and can be sustained over the long term”.

However, the Chancellor warned that energy supplies cannot be included in the sanctions.

“Europe has deliberately exempted energy supplies from Russia from sanctions,” Scholz said in the statement.

“Supplying Europe with energy for heat generation, mobility, electricity supply and industry cannot be secured in any other way at the moment. It is, therefore, of essential importance for the provision of public services and the daily lives of our citizens.”

READ ALSO: How Germany could end its dependence on Russian energy

The Ukrainian President Volodymyr Selensky has been urging further and stricter sanctions against Russia including a boycott of Russian exports.

According to the Federal Statistical Office, Germany imported €19.4 billion worth of crude oil and natural gas from Russia last year – accounting for 59 percent of all imports from the country.

The state of Bavaria accounted for the largest share: with almost €5.7 billion, it accounted for about 29 percent of the nationwide total. Brandenburg (€3.8 billion) and Hesse (€3 billion) follow. According to the Munich Chamber of Industry and Commerce, 36 percent of Bavaria’s oil and gas imports come from Russia.

Scholz said the German government had been working hard for months to “develop alternatives to Russian energy” with EU partners and others. 

“However, this cannot be done overnight,” he said. “Therefore, it is a conscious decision on our part to continue the activities of business enterprises in the area of energy supply with Russia.”

On Sunday, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) pointed out Germany’s “insanely high dependence” on imports.

She warned that if imports of oil, gas and coal from Russia were stopped, the lights could go out in Germany.

“We must, although these images of bombed cities tear at our hearts, always keep a cool head as well,” Baerbock told ZDF. “We will not be able to stop the war by having the lights go out completely, here in Europe.”

Member comments

  1. Basically, Sholz and bareback are saying. As long as it only affects the poorest. Who cares.
    We either help pay for the bombs falling on Kiev. Or we force Germanys already vulnerable to take the burden. The later looses elections. So its simple for them, they cause it. They don’t feel the pinch.
    It was all so avoidable.

  2. Well germany should hang its head in absolute SHAME. Come on now Fire back at me when you read this.

    Germany allowed the Nord Stream 1 under that communist sympathiser Gerhard Schroeder. Sholtz allowed it too and so di Merkel all wanting Money and profit using the excuse Russia will come into the western fold but at the same time asking NATO to make sure there was no problem.

    They then said they will not operate nord stream 2 which is not even in use so that is like we will not pay for the rocket shiop to the sun BECAUSE NONE IS HAPPENING. Germany places profit before anything else. MONEY FIRST. Sure jobs and confort may be at stake but isnt that better than being blackmailed by an army that now had the GERMAN money to pay for those bombs?

    Australia did this with Japan in WW2. they sold iron for money and got bombs back

    REAP WHAT YOU SOW and this is not going to be the ned of this.

    GERMANY should have learnt about putting money fort. A LONG TIME AGO like about 70 years when they accused OTHERS of that same thing.

  3. While true, not banning Russian gas feeds to bear and will allow them to march their way across Europe like Putin has been planning all along. We should have been building next generation nuclear plants everywhere. Not only are they safe, they don’t depend of tyrants, and are carbon-free. No brainer.

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POLITICS

Scholz says Germany to become biggest NATO force in Europe

Germany's investments in defence in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine will transform it into the biggest contributor to NATO in Europe, Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Tuesday.

Scholz says Germany to become biggest NATO force in Europe

Alongside the United States, Germany is “certainly making the largest contribution” to NATO, Scholz said in an interview with the ARD broadcaster.

Speaking at the close of a summit of leaders from the Group of Seven rich democracies, Scholz said Germany was in the process of creating “the largest conventional army within the NATO framework in Europe”.

Days after Russia invaded Ukraine in February, Scholz announced a 100-billion-euro ($105-billion) fund to beef up Germany’s military defences and offset decades of chronic underfunding.

READ ALSO: Germany’s Bundestag approves €100 billion fund to beef up defences

He also promised to meet NATO’s target of spending two percent of GDP on defence, answering years of criticism from close allies that Berlin was failing to contribute enough to the alliance.

Russia’s invasion had led to a renewed conviction “that we should spend more money on defence”, Scholz said.

“We will spend an average of around 70 to 80 billion euros a year on defence over the next few years,” he said, meaning “Germany is the country that invests the most in this”.

Scholz’s announcement in February was seen as a major policy shift, upending Germany’s traditionally cautious approach to defence as a result of its post-war guilt.

Germany had steadily reduced the size of its army since the end of the Cold War from around 500,000 at the time of reunification in 1990 to just 200,000.

NATO allies are from Tuesday gathering in Madrid for a summit, where the United States is expected to announce new long-term military deployments across Europe.

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