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The Wall Street Journal: U.S. discussing ban on Russian oil imports, Blinken says

The U.S. and European partners are discussing a ban on imports of Russian oil in response to President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Sunday.

“We are now talking to our European partners and allies to look in a coordinated way at the prospect of banning the import of Russian oil, while making sure that there’s still an appropriate supply of oil on world markets. That’s a very active discussion as we speak,” Mr. Blinken said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” He said he discussed the issue with President Biden on Saturday.

European nations and Biden administration officials have so far largely avoided widespread sanctions on Russia’s energy sector, fearing they would result in price increases. The main U.S. price last week topped $110 a barrel for the first time in more than a decade.

When asked whether a total EU-wide ban on Russian energy is on the table, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen referred to the existing economic sanctions that have been placed on Russia, saying “the goal is to isolate Russia and to make it impossible for Putin to finance his wars.”

She told CNN on Sunday that as far as the energy sector is concerned, “here it’s very clear that for us there is a strong strategy now to say we have to get rid of the dependency of fossil fuels from Russia” and diversify Europe’s energy supply toward renewables.

An expanded version of this story appears on WSJ.com.

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