Kremlin warns against ‘bloating’ Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova with weapons
German Vice Chancellor and Economy Minister Robert Habeck said his government’s goal must be to ensure independence from Russian energy supplies, even if that means putting pressure for alternative solutions previously considered “unrealistic”.
Following Russia’s decision to halt gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria on Wednesday due to their refusal to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin’s demand for ruble payments, Habeck told reporters during a briefing. a press briefing in Berlin that Germany’s dependence on Russian gas had rapidly diminished in recent weeks.
“Germany has now reduced its gas imports from Russia to 35%, from 55% before the start of the war,” he said.
While it is “unrealistic” for Germany to completely ban Russian gas before next year given the new infrastructure needed to diversify gas imports, “nevertheless, we must try the unrealistic to some respects now,” Habeck said.
Habeck urged Germany to speed up the construction of a liquid natural gas terminal within ten months. Habeck described Russia’s decision to stop gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria as an example of “the reality where energy is being used as a weapon” and said that “Russia is showing that it is ready to get serious.
They are ready to stop gas deliveries. We have to take this seriously, and this also applies to other European countries,” said Habeck.
”It would be cynical if the great and mighty Germany thought, ‘Well, you can beat the little guys a bit – that’s a warning to you.’ No, it’s the reality – it’s the reality where energy is used as a weapon and we have to see that we are not defenseless when energy is used as a weapon.
Germany’s goal is to diversify energy infrastructure accordingly and “renovate our energy infrastructure based on renewables and massive savings so that we are not left defenseless”, he added.
During a visit to Poland on Tuesday, Habeck said Germany could manage an embargo on Russian oil imports, hinting that the country could soon end its dependence on Russian oil imports. Habeck told reporters that Germany’s share of crude oil imported from Russia had fallen from 35% before the war to around 12%, adding that a European embargo on Russian oil would be “manageable”.
Habeck stressed on Wednesday that Germany would continue to make its energy payments in euros or dollars in accordance with its European partners.