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Biden wants to ban Russian oil imports over Ukraine war: AP Source

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Joe Biden has decided to ban Russian oil imports, increasing the toll on Russia’s economy in retaliation for invading Ukraine, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The move follows Ukrainian President Volodmyr Zelenskyy’s pleas for US and Western officials to halt imports, in a blatant omission of the massive sanctions imposed on Russia over the invasion. Energy exports have ensured a steady flow of money into Russia despite otherwise severe financial sector restrictions.

Biden will announce the move as early as Tuesday, the person said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the matter ahead of an announcement. The White House said Biden would speak Tuesday morning to “announce actions to continue to hold Russia accountable for its unprovoked and unjustified war on Ukraine.”

The US will act alone, but in close consultation with European allies that are more dependent on Russian energy supplies. Natural gas from Russia accounts for a third of Europe’s fossil fuel consumption. The US does not import Russian natural gas.

Biden explained his reluctance to impose energy sanctions at the start of the conflict two weeks ago as trying to “limit the pain the American people feel at the pump.”

News of his decision on Tuesday was first reported by Bloomberg.

Before the invasion, Russian oil and gas accounted for more than a third of government revenues. Global energy prices have skyrocketed following the invasion and have continued to rise despite a coordinated release of strategic reserves, making Russian exports even more lucrative.

The US and international partners have sanctioned Russia’s largest banks, central bank and Treasury Department, and have moved to ban certain financial institutions from the SWIFT messaging system for international payments.

But rules enacted by the Treasury Department allow Russian energy transactions to continue to be processed through unsanctioned non-US banks to minimize disruption to global energy markets.

Inflation, which is at its highest in 40 years and fueled in large part by gas prices, has hurt Biden politically as voters head into the November election.

The sanctions created a possible compromise for the president between his political interests at home and abroad. By invading Ukraine, Russia may have contributed to the supply chain problems and inflation that have been a key weakness for Biden, who is now trying to strike a balance between punishing Putin and sparing American voters.

Biden specifically touted the Russian energy carve-outs as a virtue because they would help shield US families and businesses from higher prices.

“Our sanctions package that we specifically designed to allow energy payments to continue,” he said.

Restrictions on the world’s largest exporter of natural gas and second-biggest oil exporter after Saudi Arabia could hurt a deal US officials say is key to confronting Putin.

https://www.cbs17.com/news/national-news/biden-to-ban-russian-oil-imports-over-ukraine-war-ap-source/ Biden wants to ban Russian oil imports over Ukraine war: AP Source

DUSTIN JONES

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