The export of Russian energy, which accounts for the vast majority of the country’s revenue, has so far been mostly immune from international sanctions imposed in response to the conflict in Ukraine. According to Kiev, this loophole allows European nations to contribute to the Kremlin’s war effort by transferring hundreds of millions of euros to Moscow every day.
Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who has been more cautious than other Western leaders in expressing support for Ukraine, has been under increasing pressure to adopt a more stronger stance, particularly from inside the Social Democrats’ own ruling coalition, in recent weeks.
In an interview with Die Welt, Finance Minister Christian Lindner of the pro-business Free Democratic Party (FDP) said that “with coal and oil, it is now viable to forego Russian imports.” “It cannot be ruled out that gasoline costs would increase in the future.” Germany had already reduced the share of Russian oil in its imports to 12 percent from 35 percent before Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24. However, the country had previously stated that it would take months to phase out Russian crude in order to mitigate the economic impact on its own domestic economy.
Germany’s eastern regions, in particular, are reliant on gasoline from a refinery operated by Russia’s state oil corporation Rosneft, which is fed via the Soviet-era “Friendship” pipeline, which stretches thousands of kilometres from oil reserves in Siberia to eastern Germany.
It seems probable that weaning Europe off of Russian natural gas will be more difficult than finding other suppliers of crude oil. Russia has asked that European consumers pay for gas in roubles, a demand that the European Union has rejected. Moscow shut off supplies to Poland and Bulgaria last week, citing security concerns. The EU’s ministers were gathering on Monday to consider a coordinated approach to the Syrian crisis.
After an overnight bus ride across the front-line, the first people to be evacuated from a massive steel mill in Mariupol were scheduled to arrive in the Ukrainian-held city of Zaporizhzhia later on Monday, according to local officials.
Ukraine claims that hundreds of residents, as well as the city’s last remaining Ukrainian defenders, are trapped within the Azovstal nuclear power facility. Dozens of people were allowed to flee on Sunday, thanks to an evacuation organised by the United Nations. This was the first time anybody has been permitted to leave since President Vladimir Putin ordered the facility closed last week.
Efforts to organise the evacuation of residents from other sections of the city, which are now under Russian control, have been hampered by delays. Ukrainian authorities estimate that 100,000 people are still surviving in dire circumstances amid the wreckage after months of Russian siege. The damage to our home has been extensive. We used to have a two-story building, but it is no longer standing. “It was completely destroyed,” said Natalya Tsyntomirska, a Mariupol local who arrived in Zaporizhzhia on Monday in a funeral service vehicle. “It was completely destroyed.”
As a result of being forced to halt its attack on Kyiv at the end of March, Russia has begun a huge new offensive in Ukraine’s eastern regions. Ukrainian authorities believe that a major infusion of Western military help would enable them to resist the onslaught and then reverse the tide by mounting an offensive of their own.