Germany in a quagmire over Russian energy
Imposing a complete embargo on Russia could affect several countries, so Germany is arguing against a complete package of sanctions.
Germany rejects a complete ban on Russian gas and oil imports, but Berlin is being pressured to ditch its economic imperative.
The US and UK's decision to impose a ban on Russian oil pressured German Chancellor Olaf Scholz's government and other G7 members to follow suit, to a certain extent.
So far, Scholz's government has stood its ground, explaining that sanctions should not risk destabilizing the countries imposing them.
It is worth noting that Germany imports more than half of its gas and coal and about a third of its oil from Russia, therefore, a transition period would be needed to avoid an immediate blackout.
"If we end up in a situation where nurses and teachers are not coming to work, where we have no electricity for several days... Putin will have won part of the battle because he will have plunged other countries into chaos," Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock warned on Tuesday.
Baerbock admitted in a separate interview that Economy Minister Robert Habeck, also of the ecologist Green party, was "urgently trying to buy hard coal worldwide."
Experts say a complete embargo would be very painful, but not impossible.
'Whatever it takes'
In a study published this week, nine economists argued that oil and coal from Russia could be replaced by imports from other countries, however, this is not the case for gas.
If Russian gas cannot be fully compensated for by other suppliers, households and businesses "would have to accept a 30% drop in supply," and Germany's total energy consumption would fall by around 8%, the study said.
Abandoning Russian gas
According to the economists, GDP could fall by 0.2-3% and the sanctions could cost each German between 80 and 1,000 euros a year, depending on the percentage of replaced Russian gas.
The Leopoldina National Academy of Sciences has also said that halting the import of Russian gas would affect the German economy, "even if energy bottlenecks could occur in the coming winter."
That said, a transition period is being discussed to protect consumers against price hikes.
For the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper, a conflict in Europe requires a "whatever it takes" mentality which was spawned by the coronavirus pandemic.
"Germany can borrow money for this," it said, arguing that a "rich" country like Germany "can and must afford" to step away from Russian energy.