Germany will cease importing oil from Russia by the end of the year, the country’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has announced following a meeting on Tuesday with her Baltic counterparts.
Baerbock revealed that Germany will halve its oil imports from Russia by the summer and will stop all imports of oil from Russia by the end of the year as the country takes steps to end its long-term reliance on Russian energy imports.
The German foreign minister visited Riga to meet foreign ministers from the three Baltic states and told them NATO was obliged to increase its presence in both the Baltics and Poland as a result of the war in Ukraine.
“In the future, a minimal military presence will not be enough. The increase of our military potential on the eastern flank of the alliance must be a long-term commitment,” she said.
Baerbock acknowledged after her meeting with the foreign ministers of the Baltic states that Berlin had not listened attentively enough to voices from the region which warned countless number of times about the Russian threat.
“We did not listen enough when you shared your concerns with us,” she admitted.
According to Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics, the EU should limit its trade with Russia and stop using Russian energy, adding that he was not hopeful Russia would change its hostile behavior.
The move on energy follows German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s remarks after a meeting with U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the start of the month, where he said Germany wanted to “get independent from the import of oil” from Russia and was “actively working to get independent from the necessity of importing gas from Russia” also, which he believed could be achieved by mid-2024.
France has reported that an oil embargo by the EU is possible but Hungary remains opposed to any sanctions on Russian gas or oil.