US in talks with allies to ban imports of Russian oil

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US in talks with allies to ban imports of Russian oil

​Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Sunday that the US is talking with its European allies about banning oil imports from Russia as a means to cut off a lucrative revenue stream for President Vladimir Putin to fund his war in Ukraine.

“When it comes to oil, Russian oil, I was on the phone yesterday with [President Biden} and other members of the Cabinet on exactly the subject, and we are now talking to our European partners and allies to look in a coordinated way at the prospect of banning the import of Russian oil while making sure that there is still an appropriate supply of oil in world markets,” Blinken said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“That’s a very active discussion as we speak,” he said.​

The US and its Western allies have slapped a slew of sanctions on Russian banks, Putin and the oligarchs that make up his inner circle but have been reluctant to ban imports of Russian oil into the US because it would send already sky-high prices for gas soaring even more. 

But barring Moscow from exporting its oil would deal a severe blow to Russia, the world’s ​third biggest oil producer.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said last Friday that the administration is “looking at options amid pressure from bipartisan lawmakers in Congress.

The legislation which was introduced last week “would declare a national emergency with respect to Russian aggression and immediately prohibit the importation of Russian energy products.”
The legislation which was introduced last week “would declare a national emergency with respect to Russian aggression and immediately prohibit the importation of Russian energy products.”
Yuri SmityukTASS via Getty Images

“We are looking at options we could take right now to cut US consumption of Russian energy, but we are very focused on minimizing the impact to families. If you reduce supply in the global marketplace, you are going to raise gas prices,” she told reporters at the daily briefing.

“You’re going to raise the price of oil and that is something the president is very mindful of and focused on,” she said.

S​ens. Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia, and Lisa Murkowski, a Republican from Alaska, introduced the Banning Russian Imports Act last week. ​

According to officials, if the US and other European allies were to slap sanctions on Russian oil, it would severly hamper the Russian economy.
According to officials, if the US and other European allies were to slap sanctions on Russian oil, it would severly hamper the Russian economy.
Yuri SmityukTASS via Getty Images

The legislation “would declare a national emergency with respect to Russian aggression and immediately prohibit the importation of Russian energy products,” said ​Manchin, chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee​,​ in a statement.

Manchin, who was among the members of Congress who took part in the Zoom call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Saturday, ​said cutting off Russian oil imports would punish Putin for his invasion. 

He said his Mountain State constituents know ​”it’s basically foolish for us to keep buying products and giving profit, giving money, to Putin to be able to use against Ukrainian people​.”​

The senator said gas prices are already nearing $4 a gallon, and, “It wasn’t because of this.

“Inflation has already wreaked havoc on it now, and basically we’re ​going to say we’re ​going to sit back now because we’re afraid it might go up a little bit more — it might go up anyway. We have done nothing. I’m willing to ​at ​least do something,” he ​said on NBC News’ “Meet the Press.”

He added that the US can ramp up domestic energy production and move to cleaner fuel technologies at the same time. 

T​he US imported roughly 20.4 million barrels of crude oil and refined petroleum products on average each month in 2021, according to the Energy Information Administration, amounting to about 8 percent of US fuel imports. ​​

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