Pain at the pump has been felt across Europe and the United States, where leaders are mulling a ban on imports of Russian energy in response to that country’s invasion of neighbor Ukraine
The United States said Sunday it was in “active discussions” with European nations about banning Russian oil imports as further economic penalty against Moscow for invading Ukraine, but stopped short of announcing an outright boycott.
With Western nations mulling the prospect of a boycott, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba waded into the debate to strongly call for a ban on such imports, saying Russian oil “smells of Ukrainian blood.”
“We are now in very active discussions with our European partners about banning the import of Russian oil to our countries, while of course at the same time maintaining a steady global supply of oil,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told NBC talk show “Meet the Press.”
Ukraine’s Kuleba, however, stressed that choking off Russia’s oil exports is crucial.
“Russian oil and gas smells of Ukrainian blood,” he said.
Like Blinken, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen, who has spoken of ramping up sanctions on Russia, did not fully advocate an outright ban on Russian oil — at least not yet.
US lawmakers have directly sought an all-out boycott, with Republican and Democratic senators last week urging President Joe Biden to ban oil imports from Russia.
Only eight percent of imports of crude oil and refined products to the United States come from Russia, according to Lipow Oil Associates in Houston, Texas.