german highway dresden
© Reinhard Krull / EyeEmRush hour on a German highway.
The country's east may run out of gasoline if the EU bans Russian oil, the minister warns

The eastern part of Germany will face petrol shortages if the EU adopts an embargo on Russian oil, Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck warned in a TV interview on Wednesday.

The EU nations are preparing to vote on a proposal which would see Russian crude phased out within six months and refined products by the end of the year. The measures are part of the latest Ukraine-related sanctions against Moscow.

"It cannot be ruled out, unfortunately, I have to say, that there will actually be shortages," Habeck told broadcaster RTL.

"There may be a short period of low oil and therefore low fuel availability," Habeck continued, assuring however that the government was working to ensure that didn't happen.

The eastern part of Germany is supplied by the Schwedt refinery, which runs wholly on Russian imports. It's one of the largest crude oil processing facilities in Germany and provides 90% of the gasoline, diesel, and fuel oil used in Berlin and the state of Brandenburg. If the embargo is approved, the refinery may have to shut down, German broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW) reported on Monday.

Germany has reduced its proportion of oil imports from Russia to 12% from 35% since Russia's military operations in Ukraine began in late February, in line with the EU's push to wean itself off Russian energy supplies.