The United States bans the import of fossil fuels from Russia. President Joe Biden made the announcement in a speech. With this decision, the White House wants to increase the pressure on Russia, which depends for a large part of its income on the sale of oil, gas and coal.
The United States imports only a small portion of its oil and gas from Russia. It will therefore have little impact in the United States, explains Lucia van Geuns, an energy expert at the Center for Strategic Studies in The Hague. “The United States itself is a major oil producer and Russia exports about 8% to the United States. Europe imports much more from Russia, about 60% and the rest goes to Asia or China.
The ban is therefore easier to implement for the US than for the EU. “That’s why the EU is not directly involved”, thinks Van Geuns. The British also want to stop importing Russian oil later this year. “The UK doesn’t import a lot of oil either, maybe a bit more diesel.”
The EU wants to become less dependent
Meanwhile, the European Commission is presenting plans to make Europe less dependent on Russian gas. The EU should reduce Russian gas imports to zero before 2030. ‘It’s very ambitious. Next winter, the EU already wants to use two-thirds less Russian gas. However, I have doubts whether we should import more LNG. But in the summer we have to completely fill the storage throughout Europe,” explains Van Geuns. Gas consumption should also be reduced on the demand side. “In addition, the EU wants to accelerate the transition to sustainable energy when granting permits for solar and wind energy. Very ambitious.’
These sanctions are in addition to the measures that should harm Russian banks. A number of banks in the country have been banned from the international financial sector’s SWIFT messaging system, making transactions much more difficult.
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