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Blinken: ‘Active discussion’ ongoing on banning import of Russian oil

Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrives for a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on September 14, 2021. Blinken was questioned about the Biden administration's handling of the U.S. withdraw from Afghanistan.
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Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Sunday said the U.S. is engaging in an “active discussion” regarding whether to ban Russian oil imports.

Blinken, when asked about potentially banning imports of Russian oil, said he has spoken with President Biden and his Cabinet on the prospective move and that discussions are underway with European partners and allies.

“When it comes to oil, Russian oil, I was on the phone yesterday with president and other members of the Cabinet on exactly the subject. And 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 is still an appropriate supply of oil on world markets,” Blinken told co-anchor Jake Tapper on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“That’s a very active discussion as we speak,” he added.

Blinken’s comments come after White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Friday said Biden was considering steps to reduce U.S. imports of Russian oil. She emphasized, however, that the administration is “focused on minimizing the impact to families.”

One day earlier, however, Psaki knocked down the prospect of banning Russian oil imports, telling reporters, “We don’t have a strategic interest in reducing the global supply of energy, and that would raise prices at the gas pump for the American people around the world because it would reduce the supply available.”

The push to ban Russian oil imports is ramping up on Capitol Hill. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) endorsed the move on Thursday, telling reporters, “Ban the oil coming from Russia.”

“I’m all for that — ban it,” she added. She noted, however, that she does not want gas prices to rise.

Tags Antony Blinken Jake Tapper Jen Psaki Joe Biden Nancy Pelosi
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