In Major Escalation, Biden to Ban Imports of Russian Oil

The move is one of Biden’s toughest actions against Vladimir Putin as his brutal invasion of Ukraine stretches on.

Patrick Semansky/AP

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President Joe Biden is set to announce a ban on US imports of Russian oil, several news outlets reported Tuesday morning. The move comes as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine enters its thirteenth day and Western nations continue to look for ways to pressure Russian leader Vladimir Putin economically. 

Since Putin first ordered the invasion, the United States and its European allies have sanctioned various Russian oligarchs, including Putin personally, while significantly limiting Russia’s access to international banks. The accumulated measures have made Russia the most sanctioned country in the world, but have failed to halt Putin’s brutal attack on Ukraine. 

A ban on importing Russian oil marks one of Biden’s toughest responses by during the crisis, especially as gas prices in the United States have increased. Unlike Europe, the US only imports a small amount of its oil from Russia—roughly 7.9 percent, per the Wall Street Journal, though the figure has increased sharply since the end of the Cold War. 

The Biden administration has already made use of emergency fuel reserves and has even resorted to negotiating with heavily-sanctioned adversaries like Iran and Venezuela to acquire more oil. Among the other options being considered by the White House, according to the Washington Post:

…the massive scaling up of production of “heat pumps” for Europe, an additional release of U.S. oil reserves, and a gas tax holiday to protect American consumers, according to people familiar with the matter.

Biden is expected to announce this decision later today. We’ll update this post with his remarks and details of the ban.

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is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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