The United States administration has said that it consulted its European allies before banning the import of Russian oil and gas while stressing that it recognises not all of its partners were in a position to follow suit.

By an executive order signed on Tuesday, Biden banned the import of Russian crude oil and certain petroleum products, liquefied natural gas, and coal. This step is aimed at depriving Russia of billions of dollars in revenues from US drivers and consumers annually. Last year, the US imported nearly 7,00,000 barrels of crude oil and refined petroleum products from Russia daily.

“In taking this action, we consulted with European allies closely, but we do not expect them and did not ask them to join us. The United States is able to take this step because of our strong domestic energy production and infrastructure and we recognise that not all of our allies and partners are currently in a position to join us,” said a senior official in the Joe Biden administration.

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The executive order also banned new US investment in Russia’s energy sector, to ensure that American companies and investors are not underwriting Vladimir Putin’s efforts to expand energy production inside Russia, the White House said. It mentioned that Americans will also be prohibited from financing or enabling foreign companies that are investing to produce energy in Russia.

The official underscored that the ban is immediate.

‘No new contracts’

“We block any new purchases of Russian energy. We do allow, though, for wind downs of deliveries for existing purchases that were already contracted for. No new contracts will be allowed. For existing contracts, we are allowing a 45-day wind-down period,” the official explained.

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“In terms of domestic impact, the reality is Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked and brutal war has led to higher energy prices and raised costs for Americans at home — about 75 cents at the gas pump — since he began to amass troops at the Ukrainian border in early November,” the official said.

Russian forces launched military operations in Ukraine on February 24, three days after Moscow recognised Ukraine's breakaway regions — Donetsk and Luhansk — as independent entities.