The West is aware of the damage that sanctions will inflict on their own economies, the German chancellor has said.
The year 2022 will see Western countries implementing “a very ambitious policy” of reducing dependence on energy from Russia, with Russian oil set to be phased out by the end of the year, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said.
In an interview with Indian Express ahead of his meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Berlin, Scholz explained that “Russia’s attack on Ukraine is at the top of the agenda across Europe and beyond.” He also expressed confidence that there is “broad agreement” between Germany and India that Russia’s actions violate the “basic principles of the UN Charter,” that “massacres against the civilian population are war crimes,” cast “Those responsible must be held accountable.”
In response to the “massive and unacceptable violation of international law”, Scholz said, many Western countries imposed sanctions on Russia, “although this necessarily implies economic costs» for themselves.
India is among several major economies that have continued to trade with Russia since the launch of Moscow’s military offensive in Ukraine. In April, India hosted European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who sought to convince New Delhi to participate in sanctions and reduce economic and military ties with Moscow. However, India has so far refused to condemn Russia’s actions.
“In addition, we are now implementing a very ambitious policy to reduce our dependence on imported fossil fuels from Russia. We will stop the import of Russian coal this summer, we will eliminate Russian oil [by] the end of the year, and will severely reduce gas imports from Russia”, said the chancellor.
Scholz is known for taking a cautious approach on the issue of Russian energy, as Germany relies on it more than many other EU countries. The chancellor has said that a ban on Russian gas would not stop the conflict in Ukraine, but would cause an economic crisis in Germany and the EU.
However, as the EU discusses its sixth sanctions package against Russia, Germany has apparently begun to lean towards more drastic measures, possibly because it has managed to significantly reduce its own reliance on Russian oil exports. Energy Minister Robert Habeck revealed last week that Berlin previously imported a third of its energy from Russia, but has now reduced that to just 12%.
“The problem that seemed very big for Germany just a few weeks ago has become much smaller. Germany has come very, very close to independence from oil imports from Russia, Habek said.
Russia supplied around 25% of the EU’s total annual oil needs in 2020, with the bloc accounting for half of Russia’s fuel exports. Brussels reportedly intends to make up the difference by increasing imports from Nigeria, Persian Gulf exporters, as well as Russia’s neighbors Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan.
Moscow is apparently skeptical about Europe’s chances of surviving without its energy supply. Former President Dmitry Medvedev, who is currently deputy chairman of the Russian Security Council, wrote on April 22: “According to recent data from the IMF, Europe will be able to do without our gas for no more than 6 months. But seriously, they won’t last a week.”
In March, Russian Deputy Prime Minister and former energy minister Alexander Novak said a ban on Russian oil and gas imports could cause the European energy market to crash.
“It is absolutely obvious that without Russian hydrocarbons, if sanctions are imposed, the oil and gas markets will collapse. Rising prices for energy resources can be unpredictable Novak said.
Russia sent its troops to Ukraine in late February, after kyiv’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The Minsk Protocol negotiated by Germany and France was designed to give breakaway regions special status within the Ukrainian state.
Since then, the Kremlin has demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join NATO. kyiv insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it planned to retake the two republics by force.
Western countries responded to the “assault” by imposing harsh sanctions on various sectors of the economy. Russia considers these actions illegal and unjustified and has been imposing its own countermeasures.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.