Blinken: U.S. and EU allies eyeing Russian oil ban
The U.S. is working with its European allies to look into the possibility of banning Russian oil imports, Secretary of State Antony Blinken told CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday.
Why it matters: Momentum had grown in Congress for the U.S. to cut off imports of oil from Russia in response to the invasion of Ukraine. But the White House had been reluctant to take action against the world's No. 2 oil producer.
- Administration officials had pressured some Democratic senators not to support bipartisan legislation to ban oil and gas imports from Russia, Axios first reported Saturday.
What he's saying: "When it comes to oil, Russian oil, I was on the phone yesterday with the president and other members of the Cabinet on exactly this subject," Blinken said.
- "And we are now talking to our European partners and allies to look in a coordinated way at the prospect of banning the import of Russian oil while making sure that there is still an appropriate supply of oil in world markets."
The big picture, via Axios' Ben Geman: Total U.S. oil and refined product imports have declined greatly since the mid-2000s, but the country remains a significant importer.
- The U.S. imports from Russia have bounced around, from more than 800,000 barrels per day in mid-2021 to about 400,000 per day in December.
- Yes, but: Banning Russian imports into the U.S. could further increase gas prices.
Between the lines: In an illustration of how toxic it is for a western company or country to buy Russian oil right now, U.K.-based Shell was backed into announcing it would donate the profits from a purchase of Russian oil to a fund for charity toward Ukraine.
- That was after Ukraine Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba called the company out on Twitter, asking, "doesn’t Russian oil smell Ukrainian blood for you?"