In Germany, the discussion about buying energy resources from Russia in the wake of the invasion of Ukraine continues. A new study shows what amounts are at stake.
According to calculations by Greenpeace, an international environmental NGO, Germany will have to pay Russia record amounts for oil and gas this year. The analysis shows that spending on buying Russian oil could rise from 11.4 billion euros in 2021 to 14.3 billion euros this year.
Gas import bills could even double this year – from 8.8 to 17.6 billion euros. Thus, Germany will pay Russia a total of almost 32 billion euros for oil and gas – the most in years. That amount would be enough to cover 57 percent of Russia’s military budget for 2020.
Greenpeace: this war funding must stop
The organization is therefore calling for a rethink of German policy. “Talk from the German government about a possible halt to imports without concrete action is counterproductive,” says Greenpeace economist and study author Mauricio Vargas. “This further drives up gas prices and provides Putin with record revenues to enable him to wage war. This financing of warfare must be stopped,” Vargas stressed.
If the German government continues to shy away from a gas embargo, it must immediately introduce alternative sanctions instruments to limit the flow of money to Russia, the report said. Greenpeace recommends stopping some of Russia’s export revenues. These funds could mitigate the effects of the war, for example, to fuel Ukraine’s reconstruction fund or support renewable energy sources, it further reads.
Habeck sees threat to public peace if imports from Russia are stopped
In the wake of the Russian attack on Ukraine, the EU has decided to halt imports of Russian coal and has imposed further unprecedented sanctions. There have been ongoing discussions about a rapid shift away from Russian gas or oil. But Germany and other countries have so far avoided such action for fear of economic losses.
German Economy Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) recently told the Funke media group newspapers: “An immediate gas embargo would threaten social peace in Germany.” In his opinion, in order to harm Putin, one must act sensibly, prepare a precise plan of action and persistently implement it. According to the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Raw Materials (Bundesanstalt für Geowissenschaften und Rohstoffe – BGR), in 2021, more than 50 percent of the demand for natural gas was met by the Federal Republic of Germany through imports from Russia.