Germany sparks EU fury as it refuses ‘last resort’ sanctions that would CRIPPLE Putin

EU 'made themselves dependent' on Russian gas says Portillo

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Ambassadors from the EU will meet later today to discuss further sanctions on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine. So far, the bloc has shown solidarity in imposing sanctions against Putin, including freezing key assets held in Europe, closing their airspace to Russia, and even scrapping the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

But, according to POLITICO, some EU officials have grown frustrated with the “wait and see approach” when dealing with Russia, warning of “sanctions fatigue”.

One senior diplomat said: “Instead of pausing, we should move forward with the fifth sanctions package.”

This new sanctions package would add Sberbank and Gazprombank to the large list of Russian institutions banned from the international SWIFT payments system, and may also include a complete ban on Russian banks.

However, POLITICO reports that the EU ambassadors are also discussing “curbing Russian gas or oil imports — an option still seen as a last resort”.

With four rounds of restrictions already in place, the EU is divided over the next step, which could prove a deadly blow to Putin’s war effort.

Eastern European countries, including Poland and the Baltic states, have called for sanctions on Russian energy, which is the country’s largest export.

This move has the backing of Ukraine, which called for a complete ban on Russian gas “that could significantly reduce funding for the war and push Putin to sit down at the negotiation table”.

Yesterday during a meeting in Brussels, the EU environment commissioner Virginijus Sinkevicius urged the bloc to reduce its dependence on Russian energy.

He said: “I don’t need to go deep into our dependency on fossil fuels, and how many billions every year we pay to the Russian war chest.

“The less we’re dependent, the better it is for us.”

But Germany has refused to support the EU’s masterplan to completely scupper energy ties with Russia, noting that it is still too reliant on Putin’s gas to part ways.

Berlin relies on Moscow for around 40 percent of its gas supplies.

On Thursday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky ripped Germany apart for its energy ties with Russia in a scathing critique, claiming that Berlin has put “business” before the people of Ukraine.

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But Mr Zelensky said that Germany’s focus on “business, business, business” has hampered any chance of a strong response.

He appealed to German Chancellor Olaf Scholz: “Dear Mr Scholz, tear down this wall.

“Give Germany the leadership role that you in Germany deserve.”

Germany is heavily dependent on Russian energy, and is the largest EU spender on Russian oil, gas and coal.

In January alone, Mr Scholz purchased €2.6 billion (£2.2 billion) for oil and gas imports to Russia, despite repeated warnings that Russia was planning on invading Ukraine.

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