Mr Scholz said during a visit to Tokyo on Thursday that Germany is bracing itself for Russia to stop shipping gas to Germany. Although he did stress that it Is impossible to predict Vladimir Putin’s behaviour. The German Chancellor warned: “You have to be prepared for that, and we were already prepared before the war started and we know what we have to do.”
This comes after the Kremlin turned down a payment for gas in euros from a German state-controlled utility.
Moscow had already warned that “unfriendly” countries had until March 31 to pay for its gas in rubles or else face a supply cut.
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said: “Payment in proper form will be the basis for the continuation of supply.”
Berlin has stressed that the refused payment was only over a “marginal gas volume of about 0.2 percent of the Russian import volumes to Europe”, its economy ministry said.
But, shockingly, 0.2 percent of EU gas imports equates to 0.7 percent of German gas imports, exposing Berlin’s staggering reliance on Russia.
Germany is one of the most dependent countries on Russian gas in the entire bloc, with around a third of Russia’s gas accounting for its total supplies.
The Russian move has sent prices skyrocketing across the continent.
Responding to this, German Vice-Chancellor and Economy Minister Robert Habeck said that his country’s gas supply situation is “stable” and “we are doing everything we can to keep it that way”.
The ministry added that it is not alarmed by this cut to shipments.
It said that “security of supply in Germany is guaranteed” as this volume could be replaced by purchases on the market.
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This comes after Russia followed through with its threat and briefly cut supplies travelling to Poland and Bulgaria through the Yamal pipeline on Tuesday night.
Poland had staunchly opposed Russia’s demand to pay for gas in rubles.
Warsaw’s Commissioner for Strategic Energy Infrastructure Piotr Naimski said: “We will not pay.
“Various possibilities and risks are being considered and we’re prepared for them.
“If it is necessary, and if such a decision is made, we’re able to cut ourselves off from the gas supplies at a moment’s notice, and we’re ready for Russian actions, including an interruption in supplies.”
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has made clear that the EU must reject Russia’s ruble request, claiming it would undermine the sanctions the bloc has slapped down over Russia’s Ukraine invasion.
She said: “Our guidance here is very clear.
“If this is not foreseen in the contract, to pay in rubles is a breach of our sanctions.”