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US and European allies discuss ban on Russian oil imports

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said on Sunday the United States and European allies were considering a ban on Russian oil imports, and the White House coordinated with key congressional committees by introducing the ban.

A source familiar with the discussions told Reuters on Sunday that Europe relies on Russia for crude oil and natural gas, but has become more open to the idea of ​​banning Russian products in the past 24 hours.

Meanwhile, US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a letter on Sunday that the House is “considering” legislation to ban Russian oil imports and that Congress plans to issue $10 billion this week. Aid to Ukraine in response to the Moscow army’s invasion of its neighbour. to know more

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The source said the White House is also talking to the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee about a possible ban.

However, Blinken also stressed the importance of maintaining stable oil supplies globally.

Blinken said in an interview with the “Meet No Print” show.

Blinken, who is traveling across Europe to coordinate the response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine with allies, said he discussed oil imports with President Joe Biden and his government on Saturday. to know more

Japan, which regards Russia as its fifth crude oil supplier, is also in discussions with the United States and European countries on banning Russian oil imports, Japan’s Kyodo News reported Monday. to know more

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Asked about a possible ban on Russian oil imports at a regular press conference on Monday, Japanese government spokesman Hirokazu Matsuno declined to comment on his contacts with the United States.

Oil prices rose last week after the United States and its allies imposed sanctions on Russia over the invasion.

A bipartisan group of US senators on Thursday introduced a bill to ban US imports of Russian oil. The bill is accelerating and could eventually become an instrument of sanctions.

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

Asked whether the United States has ruled out a unilateral embargo on Russian oil imports, Blinken said: “I wouldn’t rule out acting one way or the other no matter what they do, but whatever we’ve done, the approach begins with coordination with allies,” Blinken said.

He said there were a number of additional measures the United States was looking at to increase pressure on Russia, but he did not provide any details on what the new measures would be.

Americans are by far the largest consumers of gasoline in the world, thanks to large cars, long driving distances, and a lack of public transportation in many areas. High gas prices have long been a political poison for US leaders.

The US national average gallon of gasoline hit $4,009 on Sunday, the highest level since July 2008, according to AAA. Consumers pay an average of 40 cents more than a week ago and 57 cents more than a month ago.

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According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), the United States imported an average of more than 20.4 million barrels of crude oil and refined products per month in 2021 from Russia, which is about 8% of U.S. imports of liquid fuels.

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Humira Pamuk and Garrett Renshaw reports; Reporting of Go Min Park in Tokyo; Editing by Lisa Shumaker, Mark Porter and Diane Kraft

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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