President Joe Biden announced the US would ban the import of Russian oil products; US gasoline had an all-time record high, Sens. seek to freeze Russian gold, Harris to visit Poland and Romania to promise US support and aid.
President Joe Biden announced on Tuesday in an address to the nation that the United States will ban imports of Russian petroleum products, such as unfinished fuel that can be used to produce gasoline and diesel.
“The United States is targeting the main artery of Russia’s economy,” Biden said. “We will not be part of subsidizing Putin’s war.”
In 2021, the US imported about 8% of the nation’s oil needs from Russia, according to Bloomberg, who reported that Russian oil made up about 3% of all crude shipments arriving in the US last year.
Other European nations relying more heavily on Russian fuels will not participate in the ban.
The UK will match the US ban of Russian oil in part, phasing it out by the end of 2022. However, the UK will still allow natural gas and coal imports from Russia.
According to the gas pricing tracker at AAA, the price of a gallon of regular gasoline hit its highest price in history in the United States on Tuesday, reaching a national average of $4.173. It breaks the previous record set in July 2008 of $4.10 per gallon.
A bipartisan group of senators, led by Sen. Angus King (I-ME) introduced legislation on Wednesday seeking to freeze Russia’s gold reserves by closing a sanctions loophole that allows money laundering through gold.
The senators warned that the Russian Federation is buying gold to offset the ruble’s devaluation, then selling gold in international markets in exchange for high-value currency, The Hill reported.
The bill was also sponsored by Maggie Hassan (D-NH), John Cornyn (R-TX), and Bill Haggerty (R-TN).
“The bill, called ‘Stop Russian Government and Oligarchs from Limiting Democracy,’ would apply secondary sanctions to American entities that intentionally transacted with or transported gold from Russia’s central bank holdings,” according to The Hill.
President Joe Biden has dispatched vice president Kamala Harris to Eastern Europe on an urgent mission to reinforce Western unity while reassuring allies of US protection and promising aid.
Harris will meet with Polish leaders on Thursday and their counterparts in Romania on Friday, the Washington Post reported.
The reassurance from the US comes as over 1 million refugees have fled their homes in Ukraine amid Russia’s invasion.