United States and European Union discuss ban on Russian oil imports

The United States and the European Union are “discussing very actively” the possibility of banning Russian oil imports in response to the invasion of Ukraine, US Foreign Minister Antony Blinken said on Sunday.

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“We are talking to our European partners and allies to consider, in a coordinated way, the idea of ​​banning the import of Russian oil while ensuring that there is a sufficient supply of oil on world markets,” he said. he says on the CNN channel.

The Biden administration is under increasing political pressure to extend sanctions against Russia to the energy area. So far, this sector has been largely spared by the measures taken by the West in order not to destabilize the markets.

US senators, both Republicans and Democrats, introduced a bill on Thursday to ban such imports. Joe Biden had indicated the day before that “nothing was excluded” on the subject.

Asked Sunday on CNN, the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen was more cautious.

Referring to the objective of “making it impossible for (Vladimir) Putin to finance his wars”, she considered that the European Union should “get rid of (its) dependence on Russian fossil fuels”.

“So we are discussing in the EU a strategic approach on how to accelerate investments in renewable energies, on how to diversify our energy supply”, she explained without mentioning a ban on imports of renewable energy. hydrocarbons.

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This question is more complex for Europe, of which Russia supplies 40% of the gas, than for the United States, a major oil producer. Russia supplies only about 8% of US imports of Russian petroleum products, crude or refined.

Asked Sunday on CNN about the purchase of Russian oil by the British hydrocarbon giant Shell, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kouleba pleaded: “Stop buying Russian oil.”

“Today, Russian oil and gas smell of Ukrainian blood,” he said, broadening his call for “all Western companies to withdraw from Russia” for “humanitarian” reasons.

Even in the absence of sanctions specifically targeting Russian hydrocarbons, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has already pushed oil prices to their highest level in more than a decade, while gas has reached new records.

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