In Major Escalation, Biden to Ban Imports of Russian Oil

Patrick Semansky/AP

Fight disinformation. Get a daily recap of the facts that matter. Sign up for the free Mother Jones newsletter.President Joe Biden is set to announce a ban on US imports of Russian oil, several news outlets reported Tuesday morning. The move comes as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine enters its thirteenth day and Western nations continue to look for ways to pressure Russian leader Vladimir Putin economically. 
Since Putin first ordered the invasion, the United States and its European allies have sanctioned various Russian oligarchs, including Putin personally, while significantly limiting Russia’s access to international banks. The accumulated measures have made Russia the most sanctioned country in the world, but have failed to halt Putin’s brutal attack on Ukraine. 
A ban on importing Russian oil marks one of Biden’s toughest responses by during the crisis, especially as gas prices in the United States have increased. Unlike Europe, the US only imports a small amount of its oil from Russia—roughly 7.9 percent, per the Wall Street Journal, though the figure has increased sharply since the end of the Cold War. 
The Biden administration has already made use of emergency fuel reserves and has even resorted to negotiating with heavily-sanctioned adversaries like Iran and Venezuela to acquire more oil. Among the other options being considered by the White House, according to the Washington Post:

…the massive scaling up of production of “heat pumps” for Europe, an additional release of U.S. oil reserves, and a gas tax holiday to protect American consumers, according to people familiar with the matter.

Biden is expected to announce this decision later today. We’ll update this post with his remarks and details of the ban.