By Mick Krever, CNN
Germany could live without its Russian gas supply if necessary, Philipp Missfelder, foreign policy spokesperson for German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling political coalition, told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Monday.
“If the Russians would stop the gas supply for us, or we would raise sanctions on the oil and gas sector, we will be able to have in the interconnected and linked European energy market – of course with higher prices – the energy supply for Germany.”
Germany has a stockpile of coal it could tap, Missfelder said, admitting that such a move would impact the country’s climate change goals.
But “for the political calculation, it’s good to know that we are independent from Russian gas.”
The United States and Europe imposed asset freezes and travel bans on 28 Russian and Ukrainian officials on Monday over Crimea’s Sunday referendum to leave Ukraine and join Russia, a move Western officials called illegal.
The sanctions are intended to impose a higher cost on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s actions.
“Believe me, the Russian elite loves to go to Europe, loves to travel to Europe, loves to have their assets in Europe,” Missfelder told Amanpour.
“And it’s not only about the 21 people [in the European sanctions list] being sanctioned today. It will also be about a broader scheme of people if [the Russians] are not negotiating again.”