Germany declares natural-gas shortage after Russia throttled its supply over the Ukraine war


German Economic Minister Robert Habeck at a press conference in Dusseldorf, Germany.

Roberto Pfeil – Pool / Getty Images

  • Germany says its gas is in short supply. Russia started cutting gas flows to the country on June 14.
  • A minister said Thursday that Germany was moving into the 2nd of its 3-step emergency plan for gas supply.
  • The final step would see the German government allocating gas in the country.
  • For more stories visit Business Insider.

Germany declared a natural-gas shortage on Thursday after Russia throttled its supply over the invasion of Ukraine.

Robert Habeck, the country’s minister for economic affairs, told a press conference that the government was moving into the second phase of its three-stage emergency plan for natural gas supplies.

The third and highest stage would see the government allocating gas to certain sectors.

Households should be protected for as long as possible, while industry would have to put up with shortages, the government said, according to the German TV network Tagesschau.

“The situation is serious, and winter will come. We must not delude ourselves: Cutting gas supplies is an economic attack on us by Putin,” Habeck said in the statement, according to CNBC.

“We will defend ourselves against this. But it will be a rocky road that we as a country now have to walk. Even if you don’t really feel it yet, we are in a gas crisis,” he said.

The second phase does not call for state intervention, and Habeck said that the top priority now was to fill storage facilities in time for the winter.

Russia started cutting gas flows to Germany on June 14 in retaliation over European sanctions and military support for Ukraine amid its invasion.

Last week, Gazprom, the state-controlled Russian energy company, announced that it cut natural-gas flows through the Nord Stream pipeline running into Germany by around 60%.

As a result, the government announced Sunday that it would increase the burning of coal. Habeck, a senior member of the country’s Green party, called it a “bitter” move but said it was necessary to store as much gas as possible.

Germany – Europe’s largest economy – currently gets about 35% of its natural gas from Russia. After Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, Germany’s government announced plans to become largely independent of Russian gas by mid-2024.

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