Biden warns energy prices could be impacted if Russia invades Ukraine
President Biden on Tuesday warned that there will be consequences for Americans at home if Russia decides to invade Ukraine, notably through prices at the gas pump.
“I will not pretend this will be painless, there could be impact on our energy prices. So, we are taking active steps to elevate the pressure on our own energy markets to offset raising prices,” Biden said in remarks at the White House.
The president said those steps include coordinating with major energy consumers and producers and working with Congress on additional measures in order to address the impact of gas prices.
The president warned Russian President Vladimir Putin against invading Ukraine in his remarks, saying it would be a “self-inflicted wound” for Russia. He urged Russia to choose the diplomatic route as the Biden administration tries to deter the Kremlin from launching an attack, which U.S. officials have warned could happen at any day.
“To be clear, if Russia decides to invade, that would also have consequences here at home. But, the American people understand that defending democracy and liberty is never without cost,” Biden said.
“This is a cause that unites Republicans and Democrats,” he added, thanking members of Congress for speaking out against Russia’s possible invasion.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Biden wasn’t assessing the markets when he warned about high gas prices in the event of an invasion.
“The president wasn’t making a market assessment or how the market moves,” she told reporters.
Psaki, when asked what Americans should be prepared for, said, “while we are taking active steps to alleviate the pressure on our own energy markets … [Biden] also wanted to be very clear and direct with the American people about what the impact could be.”
Asked whether the White House would support suspending the federal gas tax as a way to combat a potential rise in gas prices, Psaki said all options are on the table.
Russia was the third-biggest supplier of foreign petroleum for the U.S in 2020, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, and responsible for 7 percent of imported oil. Russia also exported $13 billion in mineral fuels to the U.S. in 2019, which was more than half of all goods sent to America.
The Russian Defense Ministry said on Tuesday that tens of thousands of troops near Ukraine’s borders are beginning to be drawn down, but Biden warned in his remarks that the U.S. has not verified that claim.
Updated at 4:47 p.m.
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