Germany could end its reliance on Russian oil by the close of summer, the country’s Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology reportedly announced Sunday, stepping up its previous timeline by at least three months—barely three weeks after the European Union announced a ban on Russian coal imports.
The ministry said a German oil embargo taking effect near the end of summer following “a sufficient transition period” would be manageable, according to a government report released Sunday and translated by Bloomberg.
The announcement came 11 days after German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said the country planned to halt all Russian oil imports before the end of the year and eventually stop importing any energy from Russia—though Germany may not succeed in ending its reliance on Russian natural gas until 2024, Reuters reported.
The European Union plans to present a ban on Russian oil in a new series of proposed sanctions against Russia sometime this week, a measure supported by Germany, Deutsche Welle reported Sunday, citing unnamed sources.
Ukrainian Minister for Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba tweeted Sunday that Ukraine would press for an oil embargo in the EU’s next raft of sanctions against Russia, after the 27-nation bloc agreed to ban Russian coal last month.
Germany was previously hesitant to support strong sanctions on Russian energy, as Russia provided roughly 55% of Germany’s natural gas imports, 35% of its oil imports and 50% of its hard coal imports for 2021.
However, Germany has since succeeded in cutting Russian fuel down to 25% of its oil imports, 40% of its natural gas imports and 25% of its hard coal imports, Reuters reported in April.
Anxiety over Europe’s reliance on Russian fuel predates Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Shortly prior to the invasion, the White House announced that it was sounding out backup sources of fuel for Europe and asking natural gas producers to temporarily surge output. Days before the invasion began in February, Germany scrapped the still-unopened $11 billion Nord Stream 2 pipeline project, which had the capacity to deliver as much as 55 billion cubic meters of Russian natural gas per year, cutting Russia off from tens of billions of dollars in potential revenue. In March, Germany struck a deal with Qatar to provide supplemental natural gas. However, even with such measures, German energy prices may spike after Russian supplies are cut off.