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President Biden Bans All Russian Oil Imports As the U.S. Hits Putin Where it Hurts Even Harder

President Biden Bans All Russian Oil Imports As the U.S. Hits Putin Where it Hurts Even Harder

Sanctions from the West have already crippled the Russian economy in the wake of Vladimir Putin’s unilateral and universally unpopular invasion of Ukraine. The ruble is worth less than nothing, and more targeted sanctions have been personally directed at both Putin and his foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov. In response to pleas from Ukraine’s President Zelensky, President Joe Biden has taken the punishment one step further, banning the import of all Russian oil, Putin’s most valuable export.

President Biden said the U.S. was acting “in close consultation with European allies” who are more dependent on Russian energy supplies, and who he acknowledged may not be able to join the embargo immediately. The announcement marked the latest attempt by the Biden Administration at cutting off Russia from much of the global economy and ensuring that the Ukraine invasion is a strategic loss for Putin, even if he manages to seize territory.

Americans can expect to feel the pinch at the pump, but a Cold War comes with consequences, said the President: “Defending freedom is going to cost.”

 

Climate activists are already urging Americans to seize the opportunity to focus on renewable energy sources, which are more affordable than oil and are better for the environment, rather than seeking other oil sources. “Putin’s war is already hurting American families at the gas pump,” President Biden said, adding, “I’m going to do everything I can to minimize Putin’s price hike here at home.”

 

The European Union this week will commit to phasing out its reliance on Russia for energy needs as soon as possible, but filling the void without crippling EU economies will likely take some time. Europe relies on imports for 90% of its gas and 97% of its oil products. Russia supplies 40% of Europe’s gas and a quarter of its oil. The U.K., which is no longer part of the EU, announced Tuesday that oil and oil products from Russia will be phased out by the end of the year. The U.S. does not import Russian natural gas.

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“Ukraine will never be a victory for Putin,” President Biden said.

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