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German chancellor Scholz pushes back against ban on ‘essential’ Russian energy imports – business live

The German chancellor, Olaf Scholz, has pushed back against calls to ban Russian oil and gas imports, as part of western sanctions against Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine.

In a statement, Scholz cautioned that such a move could put Europe’s energy security at risk, and that energy imports from Russia were currently essential to citizens’ daily lives.

Scholz said:

“Europe has deliberately exempted energy supplies from Russia from sanctions.

“Supplying Europe with energy for heat generation, mobility, electricity supply and industry cannot be secured in any other way at the moment. It is therefore of essential importance for the provision of public services and the daily lives of our citizens.”

Scholz’s comments come a day after the US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, said the US was in talks with European allies about banning imports of Russian oil, to intensify the pressure on Moscow to halt its invasion of Ukraine.

But Brent has now dropped back to around $120, up 2% today.

In his statement, Scholz defended a decision by the European Union to spare Russia’s energy sector from sanctions over its invasion of Ukraine. He argued that Russian energy was needed until alternatives sources were found.

“The federal government has been for months working urgently with its partners in the European Union and beyond to develop alternatives to Russian energy.

“This cannot be done overnight.”

Noah Barkin (@noahbarkin)

Olaf Scholz makes clear that Germany is not considering cutting off Russian gas, saying energy has been deliberately exempted from the sanctions because it's vital for heating, electricity, mobility and industry.

AFP News Agency (@AFP)

#BREAKING Russian energy imports 'essential' to Europeans' daily lives, cautions against oil and gas sanctions: German Chancellor Scholz

Richard Walker (@rbsw)


Olaf Scholz statement insisting Germany will continue using Russian energy supplies.

“Working hard” on alternatives but “this cannot be done overnight.”

German statement + DeepL translation->

Seperately, the finance minister, Christian Lindner, has said Germany is not currently planning to stop importing Russian oil, gas and coal but is keeping the option open.

“This option is of course on the table,” Lindner told reporters (via Reuters).

“At this point in time, however, it seems advisable for the sustainability of the sanctions against Vladimir Putin not to take this step ourselves.”

Lindner added:

“I do not rule out anything for later this year.”