Biden says it’s ‘critical’ to limit impact from Russia on US gas prices

President Biden addresses the ongoing situation in Ukraine
Associated Press/Alex Brandon

President Biden said Tuesday that it is “critical” his administration works to tamp down any rise in gas prices in the U.S. due to Russian troops deployments in Ukraine and Western sanctions against the move.

“I want to limit the pain the American people are feeling at the gas pump. This is critical to me,” Biden said in remarks at the White House. 

He announced that the U.S. would sanction Russian sovereign debt and Russian elites as well as Russian bank VEB and its military bank in response to Moscow’s deployment of troops to regions in eastern Ukraine.  

“As we respond, my administration is using every tool at our disposal to protect American businesses and consumers from rising prices at the pump,” he said.

“As I said last week, defending freedom will have costs for us as well and here at home. We need to be honest about that. But as we do this, I’m going to take robust action to make sure the pain of our sanctions is targeted at the Russian economy, not ours,” he added. 

Biden last week warned there will be consequences for Americans at home, including on gas prices, if Russia decides to invade Ukraine.

“We are closely monitoring energy supplies for any disruption. We’re executing a plan in coordination with major oil producing consumers and producers towards a collective investment to secure stability and global energy supplies. This will blunt gas prices,” the president said on Tuesday.

Last week, he said he was also working with Congress on additional measures to address the impact of gas prices.

Deputy National Security Advisor Daleep Singh told reporters that the efforts to prevent gas prices from spiking are part of “an ongoing efforts and a sensitive effort” when asked what tools the administration will use.

He outlined a four-pronged approach, involving coordinating actions with major energy producers, which have reserves at their disposal, working closely with major energy producers while several of them have spare capacity, working with energy companies to surge their capacity and being “very clear” that if Putin weaponizes energy supply it will be met with consequences.

When asked when Americans might feel a difference when they fill up their gas tanks, he said he wouldn’t go into specifics.

“I’m not going to give you a timeline but the collective power of those actions … we think will be effective in bringing down the price of gas and price of oil,” he said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday recognized the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk people’s republics, which are held by Russian-backed separatists in Ukraine’s Donbas region, as independent and sent troops into the area. Russian lawmakers on Tuesday greenlighted a request by Putin to use military force outside Russia.

Biden on Monday signed an executive order blocking new U.S. investment, trade and financing from flowing into the two regions.

— Updated at 5:40 p.m.

Tags Joe Biden Russia Russo-Ukrainian War Ukraine Ukraine-Russia border Ukraine-Russia conflict Vladimir Putin

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