Washington: US President Joe Biden is poised to announce a ban on Russian oil imports to ‘punish’ the country for invading Ukraine, BBC reported.
Despite mounting fears of rising gas prices, the move has found widespread bipartisan political support in the US.
However, the US intends to make the move unilateral, without its European allies, who are much more dependent on Russian gas and oil for their energy needs.
Russia had earlier warned that it may close its main gas pipeline to Germany if the West bans Russian oil.
The EU gets about 40 per cent of its gas and 30 per cent of its oil from Russia, and has no easy substitutes if supplies are disrupted, BBC reported.
In comparison, 8 per cent of US oil and refined product imports come from Russia.
As the world’s third largest exporter of oil, Moscow is aware that any move to impose sanctions would badly damage its own economy.
But such action could also send prices soaring. Investor fears of an embargo drove Brent crude oil to $139 a barrel at one point on Monday — its highest level in almost 14 years.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken had previously said that any discussion on a ban would have to consider how to maintain “a steady global supply”.
However, the way was paved for the US ban on Monday, when senior Republicans and Democrats in Congress announced a bipartisan agreement to suspend normal trade relations with Russia and Belarus, BBC reported.