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US, Europe mulling bans on Russian oil imports, Blinken says

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The United States (US) said on 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”.

Late last week the White House said it was looking for ways to reduce US consumption of Russian oil while protecting American families from price hikes, but pressure has mounted on Western nations to cut off Russian energy imports as a way to tighten the screws on
the Kremlin.

“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.

“The actions we’ve taken to date have already had a devastating impact on the Russian economy,” he added, referring to biting sanctions that have economically isolated Russia and its President Vladimir Putin.

Ukraine’s Kuleba, however, stressed that choking off Russia’s oil exports is crucial.

Asked on Sunday on CNN about Shell’s announcement that it continued to buy Russian oil – and donate the profits to Ukrainian causes – Kuleba urged Shell and other energy giants to cut off Moscow’s biggest revenue source and “stop buying Russian oil”.

“Russian oil and gas smells of Ukrainian blood,” he said.


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