Germany triggered the second phase of its gas emergency plan on Thursday and urged its citizens to cut back on usage as it flagged concerns about a drop in supplies from Russia that could force the government to intervene and ration the fuel if the situation gets worse.

Habeck on energy security

Robert Habeck is the federal minister for the economy and climate protection.

dpa/picture alliance via Getty Images

German economics minister Robert Habeck triggered the alert stage of the emergency plan due to Russia's cut back on supplies of gas.

The minister warned that the situation was tense and that the security of supply was still assured.

According to Habeck, Germany has more gas in storage this year than it did last year, but it could run out quickly as supplies via theNord Stream 1 line are down to 40% of the total capacity.

Habeck said that the situation was a gas crisis and that the price was likely to go up further.

The minister wants people to cut back on gas usage so that we can get through the winter.

The German government intends to have a storage level of 90 percent by December as part of its emergency plan.

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Habeck said that cutting gas supplies was an attack on the US by Putin. We are in a gas crisis, even if you don't feel it yet, because of Putin's strategy.

Key Background

In March, the German government triggered the "early warning phase" of its gas emergency plan in anticipation of a disruption in supplies from Russia, which had been hit with economic sanctions by the European Union. The final emergency phase of the plan will allow Germany to take over the distribution of gas. Some gas-fired power stations would be prioritized over others in order to lead to rationing. The flow of gas from Russia to Germany was reduced due to equipment problems. The Russian state-run gas giant Gazprom has already suspended supplies to Poland, Bulgaria, Netherlands,Denmark and Finland after they refused to comply with Putin's diktat of paying for the gas using a ruble account. The German government's decision to stop the approval of the Nord Stream 2 line was one of the first major measures taken against Russia.

Germany is taking steps towards gas rationing.

The German government accuses Russia of an economic attack.