Germany opposed Expanding Sanctions on Russia and Shutting down Sberbank from SWIFT

The European Union is preparing other sanctions against Russia. According to Bloomberg, Germany is the main opponent of tightening restrictions on Russia’s energy sector and the largest bank.

The publication writes, citing several diplomats and documents, that Berlin is resisting Sberbank’s disconnection from SWIFT. Sberbank, which accounts for about half of Russia’s retail deposits, was not among the financial institutions expelled from SWIFT, as it is one of the main mediators for paying for Russian energy imports. Central and Eastern European countries demand the expansion of the sanctions as Russia intensifies its attack on Ukraine.

According to the documents, during the diplomatic meetings, Germany calls on other countries to be careful because of this step. Chancellor Olaf Scholz also made a public speech and spoke of restraint on sanctions that could affect energy. He said this week that he did not support a ban on energy imports from Russia because the supply of oil and gas was “essential” for the European economy. Finance Minister Christian Lindner said discussions on additional financial sanctions were ongoing and nothing has been decided yet.

One of the EU diplomats said that other Western European countries, including Italy, would support the SWIFT decision if it would be the EU’s common position. According to one source, this measure will be supported by other high-ranking EU officials.

According to EU diplomats and one of the documents, Germany also expressed concern about the initiative to restrict access to ports, as this measure could harm the trade of goods that are not sanctioned.

Germany and other countries also oppose the EU banning the bloc from exporting oil from Russia after the US and the UK. European countries are more dependent on Russian fuel than the US, thus governments are worried about what this move will bring to the countries’ businesses.

Oil prices increased by more than $ 126 a barrel today. After the invasion of Ukraine, futures in New York rose by more than 35%. According to the European Commission, more than a quarter of Europe’s oil imports come from Russia.

The EU executive notes that Europe has more potential alternatives to oil and coal than gas. Russia provides more than 40% of the EU’s total consumption.