05 December 2022,   04:23
Biden bans US imports of Russian oil and gas

President Joe Biden has banned imports of Russian oil and gas into the US as Washington steps up economic sanctions on Moscow over the invasion of Ukraine in a bid to deprive it of revenue, writes the Financial Times.

The move was matched by a UK ban on Russian oil imports, but the EU did not follow suit and instead unveiled a plan to cut Russian gas imports by two-thirds within a year.

The US decision opens a new front in efforts to isolate Russia from the global economy, following moves to impose sanctions on key Russian banks, top government officials and oligarchs, as well as its central bank.

“Russian oil will no longer be acceptable at US ports and the American people will deal another powerful blow to [Vladimir] Putin’s war machine”, - Biden said, speaking from the White House.

But a ban on US and UK imports will be far less disruptive to global markets than a full international embargo as only a small proportion of Russian shipments goes to these two markets.

The ban came after days of debate within the Biden administration and between the US and western allies about the merits of banning Russian energy to punish President Vladimir Putin for the attack on Ukraine, as well as the risk it could trigger a new shock to global energy markets.