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Sources say the US can act on its own to ban Russian oil imports

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Two people familiar with Ukraine told Reuters that the United States is ready to push a ban on Russian oil imports without the participation of allies in Europe.

President Joe Biden held a video conference with leaders from France, Germany and the United Kingdom on Monday as his administration continues to solicit their support for a ban on Russian oil imports.

A source told Reuters who spoke on condition of anonymity that the White House is also negotiating with US congressional leaders who are working on urgent legislation to ban Russian imports, a move that forces the administration to work on an accelerated timeline.

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A senior US official, who also spoke on the condition of anonymity, told Reuters that no final decision had been made, but that “it is likely only the US if that happens.”

Germany, the largest buyer of Russian crude oil, has rejected plans to ban energy imports. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Monday that Germany is accelerating its plans to expand its use of alternative energy sources, but it cannot stop Russian energy imports overnight.

Oil prices rose to their highest levels since 2008 due to delays in a possible return of Iranian crude to global markets and at a time when US and European allies are considering a ban on Russian imports.

Europe is dependent on Russia for crude oil and natural gas, but has become more open to the idea of ​​banning Russian products. The United States relies less on crude oil and Russian products, but the embargo will help drive up prices and pinch American consumers already seeing soaring prices at the gas pump. to know more

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“We’re importing such a small percentage of oil from Russia compared to the Europeans,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters. “It’s completely different circumstances.”

US House of Representatives spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi said in a letter Sunday that her House is reviewing legislation to ban imports of Russian oil and that Congress plans to release $10 billion in aid this week to Ukraine in response to its neighbor’s military invasion of Moscow.

A bipartisan group of US senators on Thursday introduced a bill to ban US imports of Russian oil. Senate bill is booming.

After Russia invaded Ukraine, the White House imposed sanctions on technology exports to Russian refineries and the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which was never launched.

So far, the US has stopped targeting Russian oil and gas exports as the Biden administration assesses the impact on global oil markets and US energy prices.

Asked whether the United States has ruled out a unilateral embargo on Russian oil imports, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said on Sunday: “I wouldn’t rule out acting one way or the other, no matter what they do, but it’s all been done,” Blinken said. “The approach begins with coordination with allies and partners.”

At the same time, the White House has not denied the possibility of Biden making a trip to Saudi Arabia as the United States is trying to persuade Riyadh to increase energy production. Axios stated that such a trip was a possibility.

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“This is premature speculation and we are not planning to travel,” a White House official said.

A year ago, Biden shifted US policy from focusing on Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, considered by many to be the de facto leader of Saudi Arabia and second in line to the throne, held by 85-year-old King Salman.

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Garrett Renshaw and Timothy Gardner reports; Additional reporting by Steve Holland and Andrea Shalal; Editing by Mark Porter

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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