Biden Says Oil Import Ban Cuts At ‘Main Artery Of Russia’s Economy’
President Joe Biden announced on Tuesday that the U.S. is “targeting the main artery of Russia’s economy” by banning imports on Russian oil, which is the latest sanction to be slapped on Moscow for invading Ukraine.
“We will not be part of subsidizing Putin’s war,” he went on to say in a statement delivered in the Roosevelt Room at the White House.
The announcement from the president came amid rising pressure from Democrats and Republicans alike, reflecting a willingness to accept the political risk that comes along with rising gas prices in order to retaliate against Russia.
“Defending freedom is going to cost,” Biden stated. “It’s going to cost us as well in the United States.”
Although Biden has tried to work in concert with European allies, he acknowledged that many are not announcing a similar ban because they’re more reliant on Moscow for oil and gas.
“So we can take this step when others can not,” he stated. “But we’re working closely with Europe and our partners to develop a long term strategy to reduce their dependence on Russian energy as well.”
The ban follows pleas by Ukrainian President Volodmyr Zelenskyy to U.S. and Western officials to cut off the imports, which had been a glaring omission the massive sanctions put in place on Russia over the invasion. Energy exports have kept a steady influx of cash flowing to Russia despite otherwise severe restrictions on its financial sector.
Before the invasion, Russian oil and gas made up more than a third of government revenues. Global energy prices have surged after the invasion and have continued to rise despite coordinated releases of strategic reserves, making Russian exports even more lucrative.
“The U.S. and international partners have sanctioned Russia’s largest banks, its central bank and finance ministry, and moved to block certain financial institutions from the SWIFT messaging system for international payments,” the report from Newsmax said.
However, the rules put forth by the Treasury Department allow Russian energy transactions to keep on going through non-sanctioned banks that are not based in the United States, serving as an effort to try and minimize disruptions to the global energy markets.
Inflation, which is currently at a 40-year high which has been fueled by the hike in gas prices, has hurt Biden and the Democratic Party significantly with voters ahead of the 2022 midterms.