As lawmakers from both parties clamor for a ban on importing Russian oil, the Biden administration looks ready to back such a move—and may in fact go further. As The Washington Post reports, Secretary of State Antony Blinken told CNN on Sunday that the administration is “talking to our European partners” about the possible coordination of such a ban with European allies.
Though the Ukrainian government has been furiously petitioning for such action, this has been a step that both Europe and the United States have been wary of taking, as a ban on Russian oil and gas could have severe effects on the worldwide markets—and will certainly result in raising the price of gas and energy in general. While the United States could likely weather a ban with an upward tick of gas prices at most, Europe is more reliant on Russian oil and gas—and has been proportionally more reluctant to upend energy prices. And while a United States-only ban might be felt only marginally inside Russia itself, a broad European ban would further savage the Russian economy.
Blinken’s remarks suggest that the United States is itself taking a lead in orchestrating that more severe version, and a draft version of a plan to phase out all Russian energy imports is reportedly now in the works. The Biden administration is also reportedly contemplating lifting sanctions against Venezuelan oil in an attempt to boost oil supplies after Russian oil is cut off.
Calling for a ban on the importation of Russian oil has been an easy way for Republican lawmakers who backed Donald Trump’s extortion of the Ukrainian government to mime plausible support for the country, and indeed some of Trump’s top defenders during his first impeachment trial are among the loudest demanding such action now. But oil is a fungible commodity, and a U.S.-only ban would likely shuffle deliveries around, but make little overall impact on Russia’s oil-dependent economy.
A European ban, however, would have severe effects, and likely raise U.S. energy prices by far more sharply curtailing available supplies. The same Republicans who have attacked the Biden administration for not more rapidly instituting an importation ban have also been vigorous in pinning rising gas prices on the administration, making the implicit case that Ukraine’s democracy is not worth temporary pain at home. This has been their calculation in all recent crises, and is ignorable. The real question is whether Europe can stomach the market-upending pain that a full ban on Russian oil would impose.
Continuing coverage can be found here.
The United States will have about 100,000 U.S troops in Europe after this deployment (either permanent or rotational), the official said.
— Idrees Ali (@idreesali114) March 7, 2022
What is old, is new again.
The Pentagon sees no indication that #Russia is preparing to send forces to #Ukraine in addition to those already involved in the war, according to the U.S. Defense Department pic.twitter.com/JWGugkDCvF
— NEXTA (@nexta_tv) March 7, 2022
Road sign in Odessa Straight on: fuck off Left: fuck off again Right: fuck off to Russia pic.twitter.com/2c1dzKxno9
— Shaun Walker (@shaunwalker7) March 7, 2022
Pickled tomatoes or cucumbers, either works:
https://t.co/yRM5P88bGr found the woman who knocked down a Russian drone with a jar of pickled tomatoes. She wants to set the record straight: those were NOT picked cucumbers. The gist of her story is in this thread 1/https://t.co/13txRgttLt
— Katya Gorchinskaya (@kgorchinskaya) March 7, 2022
Russia cannot be trusted:
Russia announced yet another limited cease-fire and the establishment of safe corridors to allow civilians to flee some besieged Ukrainian cities Monday. But the evacuation routes led mostly to Russia and its ally Belarus, drawing withering criticism from Ukraine and others.
Ukrainian officials accused Moscow of resorting to “medieval siege” tactics in places, and in one of the most desperately encircled cities, the southern port of Mariupol, there were no immediate signs of an evacuation.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s forces continued to pummel some cities with rockets even after the announcement of corridors, and fierce fighting raged in places, indicating there would be no wider cessation of hostilities.
Royal Dutch Shell does the “right thing,” but only after being called out:
On Friday, Royal Dutch Shell went against most of its industry counterparts and international goodwill to scoop up a record discount on Russian oil during the ongoing invasion of Ukraine. But the company still wants you to think it’s a good guy, as it’s promised to donate profits to humanitarian aid for Ukraine. […]
The Financial Times reported Friday that Shell stood to make a cool $20 million from the fire sale of this oil.
“I am told that Shell discretely bought some Russian oil yesterday,” Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, twetted on Saturday. “One question to @Shell: doesn’t Russian oil smell [of] Ukrainian blood for you? I call on all conscious people around the globe to demand multinational companies to cut all business ties with Russia.”
Sensing that this might have been a bad PR move, Shell went into damage-control mode over the weekend. […] The company pledged that it would put profits from the oil into a “dedicated fund” that it would give to humanitarian aid for Ukraine. Yeah, guys, that totally makes it better.
.@POTUS held a secure video call today with President Macron, Chancellor Scholz, and Prime Minister Johnson. The leaders affirmed their determination to continue raising the costs on Russia for its unprovoked and unjustified invasion of Ukraine. pic.twitter.com/mgLIZAU2K8
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) March 7, 2022
A senior member of Ukraine’s government will ask members of Congress to impose stiff new penalties on all corporations that pay taxes in Russia, according to a copy of the letter to lawmakers obtained by The Washington Post.
Davyd Arakhamia, the parliamentary leader of Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky’s political party, is sending a letter to Congress asking lawmakers to delist from the U.S. stock exchange all corporations that pay taxes in Russia. The letter also asks the U.S. government to freeze the assets of all Russian oligarchs on the Forbes 100 list if they did not denounce Russian President Vladimir Putin within 48 hours.
Both steps would represent dramatic escalations in America’s economic countermeasures against Moscow, undertaken against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine. Dozens of firms on the U.S. stock exchange retain operations in Russia — though many have pulled out over the last week — and pay billions of dollars to Russia’s government in taxes, according to Maryan Zablotskyy, a member of the Ukrainian parliament’s finance committee who spearheaded the effort.
We’re having air combat over Kyiv now. Two Russian aircraft have been downed over the city, the military says.
— Illia Ponomarenko 🇺🇦 (@IAPonomarenko) March 7, 2022
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