Germany is working “as quickly as possible” to wean itself from Russian energy, but it will take time, according to the country’s finance minister.
Christian Lindner told the media, “We have to be patient.”
Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, on the other hand, had previously stated that Germany will stop importing oil by the end of the year and afterwards gas.
Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine, has chastised Germany for failing to rein in Russian energy imports.
Energy payments, he said, were “blood money.”
The sale of Russian oil and gas generates roughly $1 billion (£770 million) every day, undercutting international efforts to put economic pressure on President Vladimir Putin to stop the conflict.
The United States has already blocked Russian oil imports, and the United Kingdom intends to do so by the end of the year.
However, European countries are more reliant on Russian energy, with Germany purchasing roughly 25% of its oil and 40% of its gas from Russia.
Mr Lindner told the press that his government was working on a Russian energy embargo, but that he favoured sanctions since they “harm [Putin] more than us.”
According to him, a sudden halt in Russian energy supplies might result in the physical closure of German industries and carmakers.
German economic institutions warned earlier this week that banning Russian imports immediately would cause a major recession in Europe’s largest economy by 2023.
“We are prepared to suspend all energy imports from Russia; it’s only a question of time,” said Mr Lindner, the leader of Germany’s coalition government’s liberal Free Democrats.
He claimed that Vladimir Putin’s calculations that Germany will continue to rely on Russian energy were “wrong.”
“At the end of the day, we don’t want to do business with Putin,” he stated.
His approach, however, contradicted remarks made by Ms Baerbock, Germany’s foreign minister and co-leader of the Green Party.
Ms Baerbock stated that Germany will decrease Russian oil imports by the summer and eliminate them entirely by the end of the year, with Russian gas imports following suit.
In reaction to the war, Germany has already postponed the inauguration of Russia’s Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, a project pushed by past administrations of various political shades.
Mr Lindner, on the other hand, expressed alarm about the macroeconomic consequences of a Russian energy blackout over night.
“I’m not concerned about the financial expenses of buying less Russian electricity. I’m afraid of the physical situation, where you have to shut down the supply for an entire manufacturing line, which would result in more than just economic consequences “According to Mr. Lindner, who spoke to the BBC,
“I believe sanctions are preferable,” he stated. “Sanctions that we can stand for months, if not years.”
Mr Lindner said that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was to blame for rising geopolitical and economic concerns such as inflation, food shortages, and a debt crisis in low-income nations.
He did, however, criticize prior Berlin administrations’ reliance on Russia for oil and gas.
“Over the previous two decades, German administrations made strategic errors, and now we must focus on energy diversification,” he added.