After the current set of sanctions failed to stop Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, imposed by the United States and Europe on Moscow have damaged the country’s banking sector.
President Joe Biden is looking for additional ways to penalize Russian President Vladimir Putin.
However, Biden made an exception for Russia’s oil and gas sector, which accounts for 36% of the country’s GDP, fearful that a rise in gas prices would exacerbate the country’s already-high inflation.
“The idea was to maximize the impact on Putin and Russia while minimizing the harm to the United States, our allies, and friends throughout the world,” Biden stated this week.
Sanctions are affecting the world’s top oil exporters, with prices rising to their highest level since 2005. Bipartisan majorities agree the US should stop buying Russian oil, and senators are putting pressure on the White House this week to impose further penalties.
“I’m on board with that.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stated on Thursday that it should be outlawed. Her comments came after a session in which Biden’s advisers were grilled about the president’s plans to increase Putin’s suffering by introducing new or secondary sanctions.
“By cutting off US imports of Russian oil, President Biden can stop American funds from fueling Putin’s war machine,” Texas Rep. Michael McCaul, the senior Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and other officials.
Senators have moved quickly to stop the import of Russian crude oil, petroleum products, liquefied natural gas, and coal into the United States, a bill that Virginia Democrat Sen.
Mark Warner predicted, “would strike at the heart of the Russian economy.”
Democrat from Massachusetts, Senator Elizabeth Warren went even further. “It should all be on the table,” she said on Fox News, “even banning the import of Russian oil, not just here in the United States but globally.”