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Joe Biden announces ban on Russian oil imports

A ban on Russian oil imports would deal a significant blow to Russia’s government, which is heavily dependent on fossil fuel sales

Joe Biden announces ban on Russian oil imports

The United States will ban imports of Russian petroleum products into American markets in hopes of choking off funds for Russian president Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, US President Joe Biden said Tuesday.

“Today, I’m announcing the United State is targeting the main artery of Russia’s economy — we’re banning all imports of Russian oil and gas and energy,” said Mr Biden, who explained that the ban would mean Russian oil “will no longer be acceptable in US ports”.Mr Biden said the ban would enable the American people to “deal another powerful blow” to Mr Putin’s “war machine”. He added that such a ban has “strong bipartisan support” and strong support from everyday Americans who’ve “rallied to support the Ukrainian people”.

The president said the decision to ban Russian oil imports had been made “in close consultation with our allies and our partners around the world, particularly in Europe,” though he acknowledged that many US allies that depend more heavily on Russian imports may not be able to join the US in prohibiting Russian petroleum from their markets.

“The United States produces far more oil domestically than all of Europe, all the European countries combined — in fact, we’re a net exporter of energy,” he said. “So we can take this step while others cannot, but we’re working closely with Europe and our partners to develop a long term strategy to reduce their dependence on Russian energy as well”.

The president’s announcement came amid a clamour from US politicians who’ve called on Mr Biden to prohibit importation of oil and natural gas from Russia, thereby cutting off a major source of income for Russian president Vladimir Putin’s government.

The push to ban Russian fossil fuel products from the US market had even garnered bipartisan support in Congress, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi telling reporters last week: “I’m all for that. Ban it. Ban the oil coming from Russia”.

Different groups of legislators from both parties in the House and Senate have also been drafting legislation to mandate such a prohibition, the most prominent among the proposals coming from West Virginia senator Joe Manchin, a Democrat, and Alaska Republican Lisa Murkowski.

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Volodymyr Zelensky has also pushed US and European leaders to ban Russian fossil fuel imports in recent days, including during a Saturday videoconference with US senators.

One of his top advisers, economist Oleg Ustenko, also told Politico a US-led embargo on Russian oil exports would bring Mr Putin’s invasion of Ukraine to a grinding halt because oil and gas revenues bring in an outsized share of revenue for the Russian government, and US and European sanctions have already made Moscow even more reliant on that income stream.

“They will not be equipped financially to continue war with Ukraine, and eventually they will need to stop it,” Mr Ustenko said, though he admitted such a step would be “costly for everybody”.

The announcement was a stunning reversal from Mr Biden’s previous position on a Russian oil ban.

Last week, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters the Biden Administration did not “have a strategic interest in reducing the global supply of energy” because it would raise prices for American consumers.

The announcement was a stunning reversal from Mr Biden’s previous position on a Russian oil ban.

Last week, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters the Biden Administration did not “have a strategic interest in reducing the global supply of energy” because it would raise prices for American consumers.

As he announced the new ban, Mr Biden said the measure was meant to “inflict further pain” on Mr Putin, but he warned that there would be “a cost” in the US as well.

“The decision today is not without cost to your home — Putin’s war is already hurting American families at the gas pump. Since Putin began his military buildup … the price of the gas of the pump in America went up 75 cents. And with this action, it is going to go up further.,” he said.

“Defending freedom is going to cost us as well in the United States,” he added, though he stressed that “Democrats and Republicans alike” have “made clear” to him that a ban on Russian oil imports was something the United States “must” do.

Still, Mr Biden said he would do “everything” he can to minimize what he called “Putin’s price hike” on American consumers.

“We’re taking steps to ensure the reliable supply of global energy are also going to keep working with every tool at our disposal protect American families and businesses.

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1 Comment
  1. […] immense US pressure, which even imposed a ban on Russian gas and oil imports, “Russia will have to turn even more to the PRC to sell oil, gas, and other commodities. This […]

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