• Germany, Europe's largest economy, is under pressure to ban Russian energy imports.
  • Deutsche Bank CEO Christian Sewing said a recession in Germany would be "virtually unavoidable" if Russian energy supplies were halted.
  • German banks are expecting the country's GDP growth to slow to 2% in 2022 from 2.7% in 2021.

Germany would face a "significant recession" if supplies of Russian natural gas and oil were cut off, said Deutsche Bank CEO Christian Sewing, per a Reuters report.

Due to the war in Ukraine, German banks are expecting the country's GDP growth to slow to 2% in 2022 from 2.7% in 2021, Reuters reported, citing Sewing, who was speaking in his role as president of Germany's BDB bank lobby.

"The situation would be even worse if imports or supplies of Russian oil and natural gas were to be halted," Sewing said on Monday, per Reuters. "A significant recession in Germany would then be virtually unavoidable," he added, per the news agency.

Germany has come under increasing pressure to ban Russian energy imports amid reports of Russian atrocities in Ukraine. Over the weekend, Ukraine accused Russian forces of killing 300 civilians in the Kyiv suburb of Bucha.

But Germany is heavily reliant on Russian gas, which accounted for 55% of Germany's gas imports in 2021 and 40% of its gas imports in the first quarter of 2022, Reuters reported. 

There are conflicting views within the German establishment about a Russian energy ban right now.

German defense minister Christine Lambrecht said on Sunday that the European Union must discuss banning the import of Russian gas, Reuters reported.

Meanwhile, economy minister Robert Habeck said on Monday he opposes an immediate ban on Russian fossil fuel imports, per Reuters. Germany will wean itself off Russian gas by 2024, Habeck said in a March 25 press release.

"We are working every day to create the preconditions and the steps toward an embargo," Habeck said on Monday, per Reuters.

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