Germany says quitting Russian oil by late summer is 'realistic'

Robert Habeck said it is 'realistic.' Credit: AP

Germany says it expects to be off Russian oil and gas by the late summer after weeks of pressure to end its reliance on Moscow for energy.

Numerous countries in the west have hit Russia with sanctions in the wake of its brutal invasion of Ukraine and world leaders are calling for states to cut energy imports worth billions of pounds.

Economy and Climate Minister Robert Habeck said that Germany has reduced the share of Russian energy imports to 12% for oil, 8% for coal and 35% for natural gas.

It all means “the end of dependence on Russian crude oil imports by late summer is realistic”, he added.

“All these steps that we are taking require an enormous joint effort from all actors and they also mean costs that are felt by both the economy and consumers,” Mr Habeck said in a statement.

“But they are necessary if we no longer want to be blackmailed by Russia.”

Vladimir Putin's regime is dealing with several crippling sanctions. Credit: AP

The announcement comes as the whole European Union considers an embargo on Russian oil following a decision to ban Russian coal imports starting in August.

On Monday, Poland urged its European Union partners to impose sweeping sanctions on Russia's oil and natural gas sectors.

“We will call for immediate sanctions on Russian oil and gas. This is the next, and urgent, and absolute step," Polish Climate and Environment Minister Anna Moskwa said.

“We already have coal. Now it’s time for oil, and (the) second step is for gas. The best option is take them all together.”

Germany faces a bigger challenge in cutting itself off from Russia gas.

Before Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, Germany got more than half of its natural gas imports from Russia.

That share is now down to 35%, partly due to increased procurement from Norway and the Netherlands, the ministry said.

To further reduce Russian imports, Germany plans to speed up the construction of terminals for liquified natural gas, or LNG.

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The Energy and Climate Ministry said Germany aims to put several floating LNG terminals into operation as early as this year or next.

That's an ambitious timeline that the ministry acknowledged “requires an enormous commitment from everyone involved.”

Germany has resisted calls for an EU boycott on Russian natural gas.

It also watched with worry last week as Moscow immediately halted gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria after they rejected Russian demands to pay for gas in rubles.

European officials called those moves by Russia “energy blackmail.”

Germany's central bank has said a total cut-off of Russian gas could mean five percentage points of lost economic output and higher inflation.