An immediate ban on imports of Russian oil and gas into Germany is not feasible, Germany's Finance Minister Christian Lindner said on Wednesday, although he added he was all in favor of an energy embargo.
"If I could follow my heart," there would be a ban on Russian oil and gas in Germany, Lindner said in an interview published by German weekly Die Zeit on Wednesday.
An immediate ban on imports of Russian oil and gas, however, is not feasible at present, because it would endanger Germany's economy and social stability, the minister added.
"We can't be responsible for that," he said.
Since the start of the Russian war in Ukraine at the end of February, Germany—Europe's biggest economy, which depends on Russian gas for around half of its consumption—has been one of the biggest opponents of an energy embargo on Russia.
So far, Europe—which collectively depends on Russian natural gas and oil for around one-third and one-fourth of its demand, respectively—has refrained from targeting directly Russian energy exports fearing that sanctions or an embargo could lead to a deep recession in the major European economies, including the biggest one, Germany.
Earlier this week, after photos of Russian atrocities in Bucha and other Ukrainian towns emerged, the mood appeared to be shifting even in Berlin.
The EU should discuss a ban on the import of Russian natural gas, Germany's defense minister Christine Lambrecht was quoted as saying on Sunday.
"There has to be a response. Such crimes must not remain unanswered," Lambrecht said.
The EU is considering proposing a full ban on imports of Russian coal after footage continues to emerge of alleged war crimes committed by Russian troops. The European Commission is working on more severe sanctions, including on oil imports, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Tuesday.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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