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US imposes ban on Russian oil, energy imports

In retaliation against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, US President Joe Biden imposed an immediate ban on Russian oil and other energy imports.

The news: “We’re banning all imports of Russian oil and gas energy,” Biden told reporters at the White House. “That means Russian oil will no longer be acceptable in U.S. ports and the American people will deal another powerful blow to Putin’s war machine.”

  • According to the American Automobile Association, retail gasoline prices in the United States hit an all-time high on Tuesday, with the average cost of a retail gallon of gasoline hitting $4.173.

What happened: The ban is the culmination of broad U.S. and European sanctions imposed on Moscow for launching Europe’s largest war since World War II. Hundreds of civilians have been killed in Russian airstrikes on Ukrainian cities, some as they attempted to flee their homes.

  • Biden has pledged that no American troops will fight in Ukraine, expressed America’s support for the Ukrainian people and predicted their ultimate victory.
  • “Russia may continue to grind out its advance at a horrible price, but this much is already clear: Ukraine will never be a victory for Putin. Putin may be able to take a city, but he’ll never be able to hold the country,” he said.
  • Biden signed an executive order on the ban soon after his remarks with effect immediately, but gives buyers 45 days to wind down existing contracts.
  • According to the official, the move also prohibits new U.S. investment in Russia’s energy sector, as well as American participation in any foreign investments that flow into the Russian energy sector.
  • Shortly before Biden’s remark, Britain announced that it would phase out the import of Russian oil and oil products by the end of 2022.
  • Russia exports between 4 and 5 million bbls of crude a day and about 8,500 billion cubic feet of natural gas annually.
  • Biden claimed that sanctions imposed by the US and its allies had already caused the Russian economy to crater, and vowed to keep increasing pressure on Moscow to end a conflict that has displaced more than 2 million people.
  • According to the Energy Information Administration, the United States in the year 2021, had imported more than 20.4 million barrels of crude and refined products a month on average from Russia, about 8 per cent of U.S. liquid fuel imports. 
  • The United States also imports a negligible amount of coal from Russia.
  • Biden also predicted that prices would rise further as a result of “Putin’s war”, however he also pledged to ease the pain for the American people. He also warned U.S. companies against profiteering or otherwise exploiting the situation.
  • “The decision today is not without costs here at home. Putin’s war is already hurting American families at the gas pump … I’m going to do everything I can to minimize Putin’s price hikes here at home,” Biden said.
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