iNDICA NEWS BUREAU-
United States President Joe Biden on Tuesday, March 8 announced a ban on Russian oil, natural gas and coal imports to the US in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“The United States is targeting the main artery of Russia’s economy— we are banning all imports of Russian oil and gas and energy,” Biden said in a White House statement, “That means Russian oil will no longer be acceptable at US ports and American people will deal another powerful blow to Putin’s war machine.”
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has thanked Biden for banning energy imports from Russia. ‘Thankful for US and @POTUS personal leadership in striking in the heart of Putin’s war machine and banning oil, gas and coal from US market’, Zelenskyy tweeted.
In response to the US decision, Russia’s deputy Prime Minister Aleksandr Novak has said that Russia is not dependent on the West and can “reroute” its supplies elsewhere.
The move made by the US is unilateral, without its European allies. There have been some disagreements among European nations about a ban on Russian energy imports. EU countries are significantly more dependent on Russian energy than the US. US imports from Russia make up a small slice of the American energy portfolio— it was roughly 8 percent in 2021, of which only about 3 percent was crude oil.
Removing Russian oil from the market could also result in energy prices skyrocketing to over $300 per oil barrel.
Leaders in Germany, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands on Monday said Europe was too dependent on Russian energy supplies to stop imports overnight as part of any eventual sanctions package in response to the invasion of Ukraine.
Russia is the largest supplier of natural gas to Germany, currently accounting for 38 percent of imports, according to government statistics. Gas accounts for around a fifth of German power production. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said that although Berlin supported tough measures against Moscow, Russian energy supplies remained “essential” for daily life in Europe.
Indian-American journalist, political commentator Fareed Rafiq Zakaria stated: “So far, sanctions have not touched that sector of Russia’s economy. Shunning Russian energy would be painful, as Europe relies on it, but the US can boost its own production and exports — and re-enter the Iran nuclear deal and lift Trump-era sanctions on Venezuela — to make up for the shortfall.”