- Germany will cease purchases of Russian coal and oil this year, its finance minister said.
- It will stop buying Russian coal on August 1 and Russian oil on December 31.
- The move signals a strong shift away from Russian energy as it continues its war with Ukraine.
Germany will end its purchases of Russian coal and oil this year, its deputy finance minister said.
Speaking at the Sydney Energy Forum, Joerg Kukies said Germany will stop buying Russian coal on August 1 and Russian oil on December 31, as it cuts its energy reliance on the country.
Per Reuters, Kukies said: "We will be off Russian coal in a few weeks."
He added: "Anyone who knows the history of the Druzhba pipeline, which was already a tool of the Soviet empire over eastern Europe, ridding yourself of that dependence is not a trivial matter, but it is one that we will achieve in a few months."
Russia previously provided 40% of Germany's coal and 40% of its oil, Kukies said.
A major challenge ahead will be trying to replace a huge gap that will be left when the European Union breaks off from the 158 billion cubic metres per year of Russian gas supplies, he continued. Concern about supply of natural gas have been the centre of attention lately after Russia cut flows to parts of Europe to conduct maintenance on the Nord Stream 1 pipeline.
A number of EU leaders however, believe the shutdown could be permanent. Several countries have already signaled they'd be willing to shift to coal as an emergency plan and might even consider rationing, if the Russia closes off the gas tap for good.
European and US energy markets have been thrown into chaos after sanctions and boycotts on Russian oil following its war with Ukraine squeeze global supply. It's forced Western countries to draw up plans to become less dependent on Russia for energy and hit Moscow's finances at the same time.
According to Belgium-based think tank Breugel, the EU has reduced the share of its energy coming from Russia from around 40% prior to the war to 20%.
While the EU struggles with soaring energy prices, inflation and recession risks however, Russia has managed to reel in bumper profits from its sales of fuel to countries like China and India. To that effect, Russia is on track to make $285 billion this year from oil and gas deals, despite sanctions.