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Biden Bans Oil and Gas Imports From Russia

The president says European allies are also working on long-term strategies to reduce dependence on Russian energy.

A ban on Russian oil imports could send gas prices even higher. 
David Paul Morris/Getty Images

US President Joe Biden announced Tuesday a ban on all imports of oil and natural gas from Russia. It's the administration's latest move against Russia following that country's invasion of Ukraine . 

"Americans have rallied to support the Ukrainian people and made it clear we will not be part of subsidizing Putin's war," Biden said during remarks at the White House, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin. "This is a step we're taking to inflict further pain on Putin, but there will be a cost as well here in the United States."

The president will sign an executive order that bans imports of Russian oil, liquefied natural gas and coal. Russia is one of the world's largest producers and exporters of crude, but accounts for only about 8% of US imports. 

Until now, Russian oil and gas had largely been spared from US and European sanctions. Biden said European allies are also working on strategies to reduce dependence on Russian energy, but he acknowledged they may not be in the position to join the US ban. Russia provides roughly 30% of the European Union's crude oil supply and almost 40% of its gasoline. 

The UK will reportedly ban all imports of oil from Russia, phased in over the coming months. The UK ban won't apply to Russian gas, according to Bloomberg. The European Commission on Tuesday outlined a plan to reduce Europe's reliance on fossil fuels from Russia "well before" 2030.

The price of oil has spiked since Russia's invasion of Ukraine, leading to higher costs at the gas pump. Biden said the ban on Russian energy will make prices go higher, but he noted that the administration is taking steps to address the increase, including releasing 60 million barrels of oil from joint reserves along with partners. 

Biden also warned oil and gas companies not to exploit the situation with "excessive price increases." The administration stressed that federal policies aren't limiting the production of oil and gas and said major energy companies have the "resources and incentives they need" to increase production in the US, according to the White House. 

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Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, a move that Biden called a "brutal attack." The US, EU and UK have imposed economic sanctions on Russia, including ones aimed directly at Putin. More than 2 million refugees have fled Ukraine amid the war, according to a United Nations official. 

Biden said the US has already provided more than $1 billion in security assistance to Ukraine as well as humanitarian support for people in the country and those who've fled. Biden urged Congress to pass a $12 billion assistance package to continue support and aid. 

Read more: How to Help Ukrainian Refugees