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Biden administration set to ban imports of Russian oil and gas

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Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

The Biden administration plans to ban imports of oil and natural gas from Russia as soon as Tuesday.

Two people reportedly with knowledge of the matter told the Washington Post that President Joe Biden intends to punish Russia for invading Ukraine by implementing an import ban.

Biden is scheduled to speak Tuesday morning and announce “actions to continue to hold Russia accountable for its unprovoked and unjustified war on Ukraine.”

These new sanctions will ban imports of Russian oil, liquefied natural gas, and coal, Markets Insider reported.

The administration’s decision to ban these products came after lengthy discussions with European allies. However, at this time, those European nations are not joining the United States in banning Russian energy imports with the exception of the United Kingdom, per Politico.

Western nations have been particularly hesitant to stop importing oil from Russia since Russia provides them with a substantial amount of their energy. The European Union, for instance, gets around 40% of its natural gas from Russia. Russia accounts for roughly 12% of global oil production.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak warned that a Western ban on Russian oil would yield “catastrophic consequences” for the global market and cause oil prices to surge beyond $300 a barrel.

Oil prices were already reaching historic highs before the White House considered barring the import of Russian energy.

Last week, crude oil futures listed prices at more than $113 per barrel. This is the highest that oil has traded since 2011.

And for the first time since 2008, the average price of gas in the U.S. is over $4 a gallon. In some states, like California, gas is well over $5 a gallon.

Despite the skyrocketing costs of energy consumption, the Biden administration is adamantly opposed to increasing domestic oil production.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki argued that instead of increasing domestic production, the U.S. should pivot away from fossil fuels altogether.

“It’s a reminder that real energy security comes from reducing our dependence on fossil fuels," Psaki said. "Domestic production has not insulated us from the price volatility of fossil fuels or the whims of those who control them such as President Putin. Americans know that."

The Biden administration has even floated the possibility of buying oil from countries that are openly hostile to the United States, like Iran and Venezuela, instead of increasing domestic oil production.

Senior American officials are even meeting with representatives of the Maduro regime in Venezuela to discuss the possibility of purchasing oil from the Venezuelan reserves.

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