- President Joe Biden announced the U.S. will ban imports of Russian oil, a major escalation in the international response to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
- The move came as Western-allied nations work to sever Russia from the global economy and punish Russian President Vladimir Putin.
- The United Kingdom also announced its own plans to phase out its reliance on Russian oil imports by the end of the year. The European Union earlier Tuesday morning unveiled a plan to wean itself off of Russian fossil fuels.
The measure — taken in concert with the U.S. — will be phased in over the rest of 2022, Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said. The ban applies to refined products such as diesel — which the U.K. relies on Russia for about a third of its imports. It won’t apply to natural gas.
Read More: Biden Set to Announce Ban on U.S. Import of Russian Oil Today
The British government has been looking for ways to further put pressure on the Putin regime after sanctioning its banks and a number of tycoons. Boris Johnson’s government has been criticized for some elements of its response to the war in Ukraine, such as the speed of processing visas for Ukrainian refugees and the number of wealthy Russian individuals sanctioned relative to the U.S. and European Union.
European oil giants Shell SHEL 2.95% PLC and BP BP +4.88% PLC said they were stepping back further from doing business with Russia, with Shell saying it will immediately halt all spot purchase of crude from the country and will phase out its other trading and business dealings.
A spokesman for BP said it won’t enter into new business with Russian entities or business involving Russian ports “unless essential for ensuring security of supply.”
The two made their moves ahead of what people familiar with the matter say is a plan by the Biden administration to ban Russian oil imports into the U.S. The Wall Street Journal reported an announcement on the issue is imminent. The administration’s deliberations about the ban have ramped up as lawmakers of both parties, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, called for action on the issue.The White House declined to comment.
- “It is absolutely clear that a rejection of Russian oil would lead to catastrophic consequences for the global market,” Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said Monday in an address on state television.
- “The surge in prices would be unpredictable. It would be $300 per barrel if not more.”
- His comments come with Russia’s onslaught of Ukraine well into its second week, with the already dire humanitarian crisis expected to worsen as the Kremlin continues its invasion.