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Scholz: Russian energy ban would mean European recession

BERLIN — An immediate ban on Russian energy imports would trigger an economic recession in Germany and across Europe, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz warned Wednesday.

Speaking to the Bundestag, Scholz said Germany would end its energy dependence on Russia in due course but cutting all ties now would hit the German economy unprepared.

“We will end this dependence [on Russian oil, coal and gas] as quickly as we can, but to do that from one day to the next would mean plunging our country and all of Europe into a recession,” the chancellor said, warning that “hundreds of thousands of jobs would be at risk, entire industries would be on the brink.”

“The truth is that the sanctions that have already been decided also hit many citizens hard, and not just at the gas pump,” Scholz continued, arguing that sanctions “must not hit the European countries harder than the Russian leadership.”

Scholz’s remarks represented a blunt rejection of calls from some EU countries, particularly in Eastern Europe, for a swift ban on Russian energy imports in response to Moscow’s war in Ukraine.

But Scholz said the process of moving away from Russian energy dependence has already started.

“In the short-term, we are securing additional sources of gas, oil and coal … We are diversifying our supply sources, already in the coming months. In doing so, we’re building on the existing liquid natural gas terminals on the European west coast, and we will build our own LNG terminals much faster than we have until now,” he said.

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