US President Joe Biden on Tuesday announced a ban on US imports of Russian oil over Ukraine invasion. This is the Biden administration’s most far-reaching action yet to punish Russia for invading the European nation.
“We are enforcing the most significant package of economic sanctions in history, and it’s causing significant damage to Russia’s economy,” Joe Biden said.
“We’re moving forward with this ban understanding that many of our European allies and partners may not be in a position to join us,” he added.
According to the US Energy Information Administration, the US imported close to 245 million barrels of crude oil and petroleum products from Russia last year.
Washington’s move follows pleas by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to the United States and Western officials to cut off the imports, which had been a glaring omission in the sanctions that have been put in place on Moscow over the invasion of Ukraine.
Energy exports have kept a steady stream of cash flowing to Moscow despite severe restrictions on its financial sector.
Capitol Hill has been under pressure to ban Russian energy and impose other economic costs.
Last week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi gave a big boost when she declared, “Ban it.”
In a meeting early Tuesday, Pelosi reportedly told Democrats that the House would go ahead with a vote on legislation to ban the Russian oil imports.
Experts, however, said that though the US will be able to handle higher oil prices, it will face certain challenges.
“The United States economy can fully handle any of the challenges associated with higher oil prices,” Jason Furman, a Harvard professor and former top economic adviser to President Barack Obama. “But it will bring some challenges. We’re going to have higher prices at the pump, and there’s no way around that.”