In response to Western sanctions, Russian President Vladimir Putin demanded that "unfriendly" countries pay for its natural gas in rubles. The European Union, which pays Russia mostly in euros, rejected this idea. (Related: Gas rationing, food vouchers and hunger are now being normalized for the war phase of the plandemic.)
The Kremlin later softened its stance, saying on March 30 that ruble payments would be introduced gradually. But many countries have already responded to Russian threats by taking steps toward gas rationing while they reduce or outright eliminate their reliance on Russian gas.
Germany began steps toward reducing reliance on Russian fuel when the war in Ukraine began. Before the war, Russian gas accounted for 55 percent of Germany's gas imports. Vice Chancellor and Minister for Economic Affairs Robert Habeck said German reliance on Russian gas has dropped to 40 percent in the first quarter of 2022. He added that Germany will not achieve full independence from Russian gas before mid-2024.
In response to Russian demands, Germany triggered the first phase of its gas emergency plan to prepare the country and hopefully prevent gas supplies from going critically low.
During this first phase, known as the "early warning phase," the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs, representatives from the private sector and the the main federal regulator of gas supplies Federal Network Agency (FNA) will monitor imports and storage.
Habeck, on behalf of the federal government, also appealed to companies and individual consumers "to help Germany, help Ukraine, by saving gas or energy as a whole."
The second warning level – "alarm" – will be triggered when there is a significant disruption to supply or if extraordinarily high demand for gas upsets the national supply. At this level, the federal government still believes the problem can be solved without full state intervention. Companies in the gas industry will be directed to take the necessary measures to safeguard supply.
The third warning level – "emergency" – will be triggered when market-based strategies have failed to remedy shortages. At this stage, FNA will be given the power to redistribute the remaining gas supplies. The private sector will be the first to get cut off, and preferential treatment will be given to essential services like hospitals, as well as private households.
Like Germany, Austria also heavily relies on Russian imports for its gas supplies. Austria is one of Europe's biggest hubs for Russian gas imports, and it relies on Russia for 80 percent of its domestic gas needs.
The Austrian emergency plan for rationing gas supplies is modeled after the German plan. It also has three phases, with the first also being called the "early warning phase."
"With the early warning stage in the emergency plan, we are now monitoring the situation on the gas market even more closely," said Austrian Energy and Environment Minister Leonore Gewessler. "And we are preparing ourselves in the best possible way for an emergency so that we can secure gas supplies for households."
E-Control, the Austrian electricity and natural gas regulator, clarified that rationing will only come into effect in the third stage of the emergency plan.
Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer said triggering the first part of the emergency plan was due to a "concrete and reliable" expectation that gas supplies will plummet in the coming weeks.
"We will do everything we can to secure the gas supply for Austria's households and businesses," said Nehammer. He added that more direct measures like gas rationing will only be implemented if the threat of critically low supplies represents an "immediate crisis" for the nation.
Learn more about the resulting fallout from the West's sanctions against Russia by reading the latest articles at Collapse.news.
Watch this video and learn about how Germany is suffering after Russia reversed its remaining pipeline into the country.