Hungary and Germany won't support the expansion of sanctions on Russia in the energy sector. On Monday Russian chancellor Olaf Scholz said that it would be almost impossible for Europe to secure its energy supplies if it sanctions Russian energy. Hungary too believes that a sanction on Russian energy would threaten the country's currency and welfare of its people.
This comes as experts say that ultimately the United States might find itself alone to ban Russian oil imports, while others might back out. The United States has been gearing up to end all Russian oil imports following Putin's decision to invade Ukraine.
Germany, Russia Back Out
Scholz, on Monday, refused to include energy supplies with other western sanctions on Russian finances, saying that it won't be possible for his country to secure energy on its own. "Europe deliberately exempted energy supplies from Russia from sanction," said a statement by Scholz office.
His office added that Germany will continue commercial activities in the field of energy supplies with Russia. However, it will take steps carefully to both affect the Russian government and be sustainable long term.
The German federal government and European partners are rapidly working at the task, "But that doesn't happen overnight," said Scholz.
Also, Hungary's finance minister Mihaly Varga said that his government would not support any sanctions on Russian energy as that won't be feasible. In a Facebook video posted on Monday, he said of the substantial damage the already existing sanctions on Russia have had on Hungary's economy.
When asked about the potential for sanctions on Russia energy in a news conference Monday, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said options that were unthinkable three weeks ago, are now "very much on the table."
Russian Energy too Important
Understandably, most European countries believe that imposing sanctions on Russian energy will leave their country struggling to secure their own energy. Scholz and Varga's comments came against the backdrop of the West tightening sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine late last month.
Discussions on sanctioning Russian energy come as President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine last week urged that the West to implement further sanctions in order to effectively disrupt Russia's energy supply lines, which are one of the Federation's key sources of revenue.
However, most countries believe that won't be a wise decision as it will impact economies. Varga made that clearn in his Facebook post. "Those who ask for the expansion of the sanctions, want the Hungarian people to pay the price of the war," the post read.
So far, the United States is the only country which is planning to sanction Russian energy and are trying to impose a ban at the earliest. Experts believe that the US may end up being the only one to extend its sanctions to Russian energy.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told CNN on Sunday that the US is working with European partners to investigate the prospect of barring Russian oil imports as a way to punish the country even more.
The consequences of a Russian oil import restriction would be minimal in the United States, as Russia accounts for less than 2% of the country's total oil imports. However, that is not the case for other European countries.