U.S. President Joe Biden imposed an immediate ban on Russian oil and other energy imports in retaliation for the invasion of Ukraine, amid strong support from American voters and lawmakers, even though the move will increase U.S. energy prices.
s Biden told reporters at the White House:
We’re banning all imports of Russian oil and gas energy. That means Russian oil will no longer be acceptable in U.S. ports and the American people will deal another powerful blow to Putin’s war machine
The ban goes into effect immediately, but gives buyers 45 days to wind down existing contracts, a senior administration official told reporters.
According to Reuters, the move also bans new U.S. investment in Russia’s energy sector, and prohibits Americans from taking part in any foreign investments that flow into the Russian energy sector.
Oil prices jumped on the news, with Benchmark Brent crude LCOc1 for May climbing by 5.4% to $129.91 a barrel by 1345 GMT. What is more, retail gasoline prices in the United States surged to an all-time record on March 8, with the average cost of a retail gallon of gasoline hitting $4.173, according to the American Automobile Association.
Biden has been working with allies in Europe, who are far more dependent on Russian oil, to isolate Russia’s energy-heavy economy and Putin. In fact, Britain announced shortly before Biden’s remarks that it would phase out the import of Russian oil and oil products by the end of 2022.
The United States consulted closely with allies on the ban, but did not ask them to join in, and did not expect that they would. The sanctions imposed by the United States and its allies had already caused the Russian economy to “crater” and vowed to continue ratcheting up pressure on Moscow to stop a war that forced more than 2 million people to flee the country.
The US also threatened to add companies to a trade blacklist if they breach new export bans against Russia, as it increases efforts to keep a vast array of technology out of the country after it invaded Ukraine last month.
More specifically, Reuters reports that the U.S. Department of Commerce, which oversees export controls, is mobilizing staff around the globe to stop illicit shipments of computers, aircraft parts, marine equipment and other technology to Russia, partnering with allied countries and U.S. law enforcement agencies like the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security to crack down on the newly illegal trade.