US seeks international support for banning buying Russian oil

Washington, Mar 7 (EFE).- The United States is seeking international support for prohibiting the importation of Russian petroleum as an additional measure to increase the cost to the Kremlin of its invasion of Ukraine, and Washington is simultaneously looking for alternatives to guarantee energy security.

Within the framework of these contacts, President Joe Biden on Monday held a video conference call with several European leaders, including French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

The White House said that “no decision has been made at this point” regarding whether or not to ban the purchase of Russian oil, but it added that the leaders affirmed their determination to continue “raising the costs on Russia for its unprovoked and unjustified” invasion of Ukraine.

The US government added that the world leaders emphasized their commitment to continue offering security, economic and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine as it attempts to fend off the heavy Russian military offensive that has already taken many hundreds of lives on both sides.

On the weekend, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that Washington was engaged in “very active” conversations with the European Union to prohibit the importation of petroleum from Russia as an additional step to stifle the Russian economy in reprisal for its war against Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Monday said he was in favor of the international community banning the purchase of Russian crude.

“You can call is an embargo or a moral act when you refuse to give money to terrorists,” Zelenskyy said in a video-message.

These plans to implement a potential embargo on oil from Russia, one of the world’s biggest crude producers, have contributed to causing the oil price to shoot up on the international markets.

In addition, they have created special concern among European allies, including Germany, who have been more reticent about such a move given that they are much more dependent on Moscow’s petroleum than is the US.

In the US, the conversations come at a delicate economic juncture with inflation up at levels not seen in four decades and the Biden administration’s consequent nervousness about banning imports of Russian crude since it would markedly increase fuel prices during a mid-term election year.

As a result, Washington has begun sounding out other large oil producers, such as traditional US ally Saudi Arabia and even longstanding adversary Venezuela, to evaluate the possibility that they might up their own production – thus helping to stabilize international oil prices – to make up for any shortfall caused by a ban on Russian crude.

EFE afs/ssa/cpy/bp

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