President Biden has announced a ban on Russian oil imports.
President Biden spoke to the nation about "actions to continue to hold Russia accountable" for the war in Ukraine.
The move follows requests by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to Western officials to cut off all imports, which up until now had been a large omission in the sanctions placed on Russia since the invasion began. Energy exports have kept a steady stream of cash flowing to Russia despite otherwise restrictions on its financial sector. Oil sanctions issues have created a conflict for the President between political interests at home and efforts to impose costs on Russia. Though Russian oil makes up a small part of U.S. imports, President Biden has been reluctant to ban it, cutting into supplies here and pushing gasoline prices even higher than they have already recently become. The U.S. imported roughly 245 million barrels of crude oil and petroleum products from Russia in 2021 — a one-year increase of 24%, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
There has been pressure to cut off Russian oil imports as the nation continues to wage a nearly two-week long war. As a consequence of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the U.S. and international partners have sanctioned Russia’s largest banks and moved to block certain financial institutions from the SWIFT messaging system for international payments. Sanctions are likely to continue being imposed on Russia so long as their invasion of Ukraine continues.