In latest steps against Russia, US and Europe target oil and gas imports


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In latest steps against Russia, US and Europe target oil and gas imports
Biden announces US ban on all oil imports, UK says it will phase out such imports by end of 2022; EU plans two-thirds cut in Russian gas purchases this year
By Agencies
8 March 2022

US President Joe Biden announced a ban on US imports of Russian oil on Tuesday, in the administration’s most far-reaching action yet to punish Moscow for invading Ukraine. The move was coordinated with an announcement by the UK on phasing out Russian oil, on the same day that the EU said it would cut back on its imports. “We’re banning all imports of Russian oil and gas and energy. That means Russian oil will no longer be acceptable at US ports and the American people will deal another powerful blow to [President Vladimir] Putin,” Biden said in an address from the White House, adding that the decision was taken “in close consultation” with allies.

The action follows pleas by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to US and Western officials to cut off the imports, which had been a glaring omission in the massive sanctions put in place on Russia over the invasion. Energy exports have kept a steady stream of cash flowing to Russia despite otherwise severe restrictions on its financial sector. The ban came with Democrats threatening legislation to force Biden’s hand, despite the likely impact on already soaring gas prices.

Russian oil makes up only a small part of US imports. Unlike the US, which is a major oil and gas producer, Europe relies on imports for 90 percent of its gas and 97% of its oil products. Russia supplies 40% of Europe’s gas and a quarter of its oil. The US does not import Russian natural gas.