The German government remains opposed to a boycott of fossil fuel imports from Russia. Many people, however, suggest that the embargo would have a greater impact on the Russian economy than previous sanctions. The Ukrainian Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany describes the rejection of the embargo as “the biggest backstab for Ukraine.”
“We consider this position to be morally untenable and will collapse, if not in the coming days, then in the coming weeks. The question is how many Ukrainian civilians are killed by rocket fire during this period,” said Andrij Melnyk on Wednesday in an interview with “Die Welt.”
Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz spoke out this week against a halt to oil and natural gas imports from Russia. Minister for Economic Affairs Robert Habeck also spoke out against the embargo. Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock warned that Germany would have to reckon with the consequences of a possible energy boycott, reports the “Tagesspiegel.”
However, people are calling for an embargo.
“Russians are particularly vulnerable when it comes to their economy. In that case, we must try to tighten the sanctions as tight as possible. An oil and gas embargo would be the sharpest sword that would strike Putin’s lifeline. This is a tough step, but it is necessary if we do not want to indirectly co-finance his war,” says the FDP politician Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann to the “Bild” newspaper on Thursday.
Germany gives Putin 65 million dollars a day
“Vladimir Putin has razed Mariupol to the ground, and it will not be the last city”, the CDU foreign policy expert Norbert Roettgen told the “Tagesspiegel.”
“Since NATO cannot intervene directly if it does not want to risk the outbreak of a world war, the oil and gas embargo is now necessary,” he adds.
“The fact that Germany has not yet given up its oil dealings with Russia means that the German government is giving the Russian president 65 million dollars a day (…) results from the analysis of the environmental organisation Transport&Environment,” writes the “Tagesspiegel.”
Unlike gas, it is easy to find substitutes for Russian oil in other countries.
“The oil market is very flexible. It has often demonstrated its ability to react quickly to crises and to reorganise its supply chains at short notice,” Steffen Bukold, who has been monitoring the oil industry for almost 20 years, explains to the “Tagesspiegel.”
“By contrast, Russia earns only about 170 million euros a day from gas. An oil boycott by EU countries would hit Putin much harder than a coal and gas boycott,” writes the RND portal.
“In government circles, it is said that a halt to fossil fuel imports would in any case cause prices to rise further. Heating costs would rise, prices at petrol stations would rise, and ultimately consumption in the industrial chain would have to be reduced – which would lead to economic distortions,” writes the “Tagesspiegel.”
“The responsibility for the current dilemma cannot simply be shifted to the whole of Europe; Germany has not built LNG terminals and Germany has handed over its gas storage facilities to Russia,” we read in the “Suddeutsche Zeitung.”