Russian gas embargo not on the table – Austria
The EU will not discuss a ban on Russian natural gas imports as part of the next round of Ukraine-related sanctions against Moscow, Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer disclosed on Tuesday.
“The gas embargo will not be a topic, [German Chancellor] Olaf Scholz has made this clear as well,” Nehammer told reporters on the sidelines of the second day of the EU summit in Brussels. On Monday, the EU agreed a partial ban on Russian crude as part of the sixth round of sanctions.
“Russian oil is much easier to compensate [for]... gas is completely different, which is why a gas embargo will not be an issue in the next sanctions package,” Nehammer explained.
Estonia and Belgium both share Austria’s view on a potential embargo of Russian gas deliveries to the bloc. Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas admitted to reporters upon her arrival at the summit on Tuesday that imposing more sanctions on Russia will be difficult, as EU citizens have been affected.
“I think gas has to be in the seventh package but I have to be realistic and I don’t think it will be there,” she said, as quoted by Euronews.
Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo hailed the EU oil embargo against Russia as “a big step forward,” but said he believed the bloc “should pause it by now,” as banning Russian gas is “way more complicated.”
The EU relies heavily on gas imports from Russia but has sought to reduce its dependence after Moscow launched its military operation in Ukraine. Russian energy giant Gazprom stopped gas supplies to Poland, Bulgaria, Finland and the Netherlands after the countries failed to comply with Russia’s demand that supplies must be paid for in rubles.
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