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Biden to announce Russian energy import ban

President Biden is expected to announce Tuesday, March 8, that the U.S. will ban Russian oil, natural gas and coal imports as part of his administration’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

A source familiar with the plans confirmed to The Hill that Biden intends to announce the ban, which was first reported by Bloomberg.

The White House said in updated guidance Tuesday morning that Biden would speak at 10:45 a.m. and “announce actions to continue to hold Russia accountable for its unprovoked and unjustified war on Ukraine.”

The White House in recent days has been reticent to ban the imports as gas prices have soared, but there have been growing calls from members of both parties to ban Russian oil as punishment for Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

As calls from members of both parties to ban the imports grew, lawmakers introduced legislation last week banning U.S. imports of Russian oil and the measures gained bipartisan support.

And, members of both parties have been pushing in recent days for energy policies they support, as Republicans have called for more U.S. drilling while Democrats have promoted clean energy.

Tuesday’s action is not expected to be timed with identical moves by European countries, which are much more reliant on Russian energy than the U.S.

Still, the European Union on Tuesday did propose a plan to eliminate European reliance on Russian fossil fuels by 2030 given Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The European Commission said in a statement the proposal could reduce the EU demand for Russian gas by two thirds by the end of 2022.

“We simply cannot rely on a supplier who explicitly threatens us,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in a statement. “We need to act now to mitigate the impact of rising energy prices, diversify our gas supply for next winter and accelerate the clean energy transition.”

The White House has continued to put an emphasis on coordinating with European partners in its sanctions on Russia. Biden held a secure call with the leaders of France, the United Kingdom and Germany on Monday during which Russian energy was discussed.

Russian oil makes up a relatively small percentage of U.S. oil imports, which mostly come from Canada.

As of last year, the U.S. was importing nearly 700,000 barrels per day of oil from Russia, while it consumes about 20 million barrels daily.

Energy is a large part of the Russian economy. It makes up more than half of the country’s exports and was the U.S.’s greatest import from that country.

The move is likely to impact domestic gas prices, something the administration has been cognizant of as it has weighed such a decision. U.S. gas prices are already approaching record highs and Republicans have sought to attack Biden over the rising prices of gasoline and other goods.

The forthcoming announcement will be the latest action taken by the administration in response to Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine, which began almost two weeks ago and has escalated as forces have closed in on the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv.

Russia has been targeting civilian areas and faces growing accusations it is committing war crimes in Ukraine. The war has prompted a refugee crisis, with the United Nations saying on Tuesday that more than 2 million people have fled Ukraine.

Biden has also sanctioned a growing list of Russian oligarchs and politicians, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and some of his top aides, and Russian banks in coordination with European allies.

This article originally appeared on TheHill.

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