Germany triggered its gas emergency plan on Tuesday, declaring an ‘early warning’ for potential disruption or stoppage of energy supplies from Russia.
The measure was introduced ahead of March 31 – Russia’s deadline for “unfriendly countries,” which includes Germany and the rest of the EU – to begin paying for gas in rubles instead of dollars and euros.
Berlin’s move is the first in a three-stage emergency plan that includes early warning, alert, and emergency levels.
Robert Habeck from Germany’s Economy Ministry stated that gas supplies have been secured for now but stressed the necessity to continue. “increase precautionary measures to be prepared for an escalation from the Russian side.”
A special ‘crisis team’ of representatives of the ministry and industry has convened to closely monitor the situation, “so that – if necessary – further measures can be taken to increase supply security,”He said this in a statement.
Moscow declared that it doesn’t need foreign currency anymore, after the central bank funds were frozen in West Europe as part of the draconian sanctions imposed in response by Russia on Ukraine.
G7, EU and G7 rejected the idea to pay in rubles. Habeck repeated this position Wednesday. “We won’t accept a [unilateral] breach of contracts,”He also told the journalist that German companies oppose the use of ruble.
Dmitry Peskov, a Kremlin spokesperson made clear Tuesday that Russia does not intend to supply gas for Europe at no cost.
The same day, Germany’s top industrial unions, IG Metall, IGBCE, and IG Bau, gathered at a press conference to warn that the fallout from the stoppage of Russian gas will “not only be reduced work hours and job losses, but also the rapid collapse of the industrial production chains in Europe – with worldwide consequences.”
Russia currently supplies more than 50% of Germany’s fossil fuel. But in the wake of Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine, Berlin announced plans to cut its dependence on Russian energy. Habeck stated earlier that Germany would be capable of coping without Russian oil or coal by the 2022 end, and without Russia’s gas supply by 2024.
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