Saturday, December 3, 2022

U.S. In ‘Active Discussions’ To Ban Russian Oil, Blinken Says

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Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Sunday the U.S. is discussing an import ban of Russian oil, which would be the latest and among the most significant U.S. actions to cut off Russia’s economy in response to its invasion of Ukraine, representing a significant break from the White House’s early hesitation on a ban.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks during a press conference with Moldovan President at The … [+] Presidential Palace in Chisinau, on March 6, 2022.

Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Key Facts

Blinken said the U.S. is in “very active discussions with our European partners” to implement a Russian oil ban during a Sunday morning appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press.

Blinken echoed that sentiment on CNN’s State of the Union, saying he discussed the matter on a Saturday phone call with President Joe Biden and other members of the cabinet.

Petroleum is Russia’s primary export, and Russia accounted for 3.5% of all U.S. oil imports in 2021.

Key Background
The White House had long resisted a Russian oil ban, saying its priorities were to lower prices and steady the energy supply, but Biden said Wednesday a ban on oil imports remained on the table. An oil ban received broad bipartisan support last week, with the likes of Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) calling for the measure. Ryan Fitzmaurice, an energy analyst at Rabobank, told CNN Friday a ban would be “largely symbolic” and not significantly impact the American oil supply. Last week, the U.S. committed to release 30 million barrels of oil from its strategic reserves, and American allies in Asia and Europe said they will release 30 million barrels in a coordinated effort to combat supply issues stemming from the war in Ukraine.

Crucial Quote
Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, told ABC News she supports the oil ban, saying “this notion that somehow banning Russian oil would raise prices on American consumers is an admission that this guy, that this killer, that this butcher, [Russian President]

Big Number
80%. That’s the proportion of Americans that support the U.S. stopping purchases of Russian oil, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted Thursday and Friday.

Blinken told CNN he sees evidence of Russia committing war crimes in Ukraine, saying there are “very credible reports of deliberate attacks on civilians, which would constitute a war crime.” The United Nations is investigating Russia’s alleged human rights violations.

Further Reading
Live: Russia Plans To Bombard Odessa, Zelensky Says (Forbes)

​​The push to ban Russian oil is gaining steam. Here’s what that means for US energy prices (CNN)

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