Having exhausted every diplomatic move and ineffective sanctions to halt the slaughter in Ukraine, President Biden took a more decisive step Tuesday with a plan to place a ban on Russian oil and gas imports to the U.S.
“Today,” Biden declared, “I am announcing the United States is targeting the main artery of Russia’s economy. We’re banning all imports of Russian oil and gas energy. That means Russian oil will no longer be accepted in U.S. ports, and the American people will deal another powerful blow to Putin’s war machine.” He surmised that the move may not be in accord with his allies and partners in Europe, who “may not be in a position to join us.”
Such a ban, when applied, is sure to increase the price of gas in the country that is already spiking a little over $4 a gallon. America receives about five to ten percent of its oil and refined crude from Russia, with the bulk of it coming from Mexico, Canada, and Saudi Arabia. Last fall, according to one report, more than 700,000 barrels of oil were delivered to the U.S. from Russia. A different set of numbers has been published by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, noting that Russia was the second largest net exporter of oil, sending in on average 540,000 barrels daily.
“The decision today,” Bided added, “is not without cost here at home. Putin’s war is already hurting Americans at the gas pump. Since Putin began his military buildup on Ukrainian borders, just since then, the price at the gas pump in America went up 75 cents. And with this action, it’s going to go up further. I’m going to do everything I can to minimize Putin’s price hike here at home.”
How this action will impact the blitzkrieg underway for 13 days in Ukraine with thousands of citizens killed and more than a million refugees, is unknown, but Biden acceded to the wishes of many of his Democratic colleagues and a vote from the House is expected.
Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) has voiced concerns that the ban might translate into an increased flow of oil from Saudi Arabia as she brought attention to that country’s inhumane treatment of Yemen. “Our response to Putin’s immoral war shouldn’t be to strengthen our relationship with the Saudis who are currently causing the worst humanitarian crisis on the planet in Yemen,” Omar tweeted.
President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine fully supported Biden’s announcement, tweeting that he was, “Thankful for U.S. and @POTUS personal leadership in striking in the heart of Putin’s war machine and banning oil, gas, and coal from the U.S. market.” He further noted that he hoped that it would “encourage other countries and leaders to follow.”
Meanwhile, the Ukrainian resistance has stifled the Russian aggression, and it has been estimated that more than 3,000 Russian troops have been killed. Plus, the rallies opposing the invasion are growing inside Russia with countless protesters being arrested.