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Industry has “no other choice”


Austria cannot stop imports of Russian gas at this time. The country supports “all sanctions” against Moscow, but “not the gas embargo,” Austria’s Finance Minister Magnus Brunner told US broadcaster CNN.

Austria cannot afford to stop imports of Russian gas as part of sanctions against Moscow, Austrian Finance Minister Magnus Brunner said. Many Western countries, including members of the European Union (EU), had imposed far-reaching economic sanctions on Moscow in response to the Russian military operation in Ukraine.

The Austrian politician told US broadcaster CNN that his country supports “all sanctions” against Russia, but “not the gas embargo.” He added:

“Once you’re more affected by a sanction than the person who’s being sanctioned, I don’t think it’s of much use.”

Brunner went on to explain that Austrian industry is so dependent on Russian gas that it has “no other choice”.

In mid-March, the EU presented a plan with which it intends to end its dependence on Russian gas supplies by 2030, but without imposing an immediate import ban. The Community’s economic powerhouse – Germany – as well as other Central and Eastern European members remain dependent on Russian energy.

However, the EU had imposed far-reaching restrictions on Russian banks and trade. Most European countries also closed their airspace to flights from Russia, to which Moscow responded with the same measures.

In less than two months, more than 6,000 different targeted restrictions were targeted against Russia by the US and its European allies imposed.

Federal Economics Minister Robert Habeck had already warned in March that an immediate halt to Russian gas and oil imports could lead to “mass unemployment and poverty” and to “people who cannot heat their homes”.

Last year, the EU covered more than 40 percent of its gas needs with imports from Russia. Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelenskiy is constantly urging EU member states to adopt a “clear timeline” for banning or restricting the use of Russian oil and gas. However, Hungary had already announced that it would veto an energy embargo.

Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania announced this week that they intend to do without Russian gas in the future. According to Latvian Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš, the Baltic States are currently no longer buying Russian gas.



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