The German government on Wednesday activated the first phase of an emergency law to prepare the country for possible gas rationing, a signal that it is bracing for possible shortages as Western nations push back against sanctions-hit Russia’s demand for gas and other export payments in rubles .
German economics minister Robert Habeck triggered the “early warning phase” of Germany’s emergency gas law to convene a crisis team that will assess the current supply situation.
In its statement, the economics ministry said that this was a precautionary measure at the moment and the security of supply “continues to be ensured.”
The ministry urged German businesses and people to try and reduce their energy consumption as much as possible as the country embarks on a plan to wean itself off Russian gas.
The statement noted that Germany joined other G7 nations in rejecting Russian demands last week to pay for gas imports in rubles, adding that this was a “breach of the private-sector supply contracts.”
In a sign of possible escalation on the issue, the speaker of the Russian Duma Vyacheslav Volodin in a Telegram post on Wednesday warned European leaders“If you want gas, find rubles.”
Volodin added that Russia may widen its ruble payments demand for EU nations to include other exports like “fertilizer, grain, food oil, oil, coal, metals, timber” among other things.