Amid the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, the President of United States Joe Biden has announced a ban on US imports of Russian oil and gas- the latest move to try to punish Moscow for invading Ukraine.
“The United States is targeting the main artery of Russia’s economy,” Biden said. “That means Russian oil will no longer be acceptable at US ports, and the American people will deal another powerful blow to Putin’s war machine.”
The ban also applies to US imports of Russian liquefied natural gas (LNG), products made from oil, and coal. New purchases are to be ceased immediately, but US buyers with existing contracts for Russian energy have 45 days to wind down deliveries.
Biden called the prohibition a critical step to punishing Russian President Vladimir Putin but said as a result, Americans should be prepared to face further price hikes at the pump.
Already, the cost to fuel up has spiked since the early days of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, leading to historic gas prices across the country.
“Defending freedom is going to cost. It’s going to cost us as well in the United States,” Biden said.
Biden pledged to do “everything I can to minimize Putin’s price hike here at home” and said that lifting environmental regulations would not boost domestic energy production.
Instead, he said that oil and gas companies have leased millions of acres of US land and received permits to drill but have decided not to use them for production.
“They can be drilling right now, yesterday, last week, last year,” he was quoted as saying.
After Biden’s address, a senior White House official said the Biden administration plans to continue working with major energy consumers to consider releasing more emergency reserves- and will continue urging oil producers with spare capacity to produce more oil.
But the move to cut off Russian oil reserves has redoubled the administration’s push to wind down Western dependence on fossil fuels altogether.
The official said the United States and allies need to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and transition to more renewable sources of energy to avoid this kind of situation in the future, despite the short-term push to pump more oil.