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As calls grow within the United States for the White House to ban Russian oil imports, press secretary Jen Psaki says the Biden administration has sought “to maximize impact on President Putin and Russia while minimizing impact to us and our allies and partners.”
Watch Psaki’s remarks in the player above.
Natural gas prices hit a record Thursday for a second day in a row as restrictions on oil and gas were increasingly treated as a possibility on the eighth day of the war.
Biden has been reluctant to curb Russian oil shipments to the U.S. or slap on energy sanctions in ways that would reduce supply as gas prices at the pump are already climbing for Americans.
“We don’t have a strategic interest in reducing the global supply of energy,” she said, adding the move “would raise prices at the gas pump for the American people around the world because it would reduce the supply available.”
Earlier in the day, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she supports banning Russian oil imports to the U.S., a hefty nod that gives fresh currency for an idea in Congress already backed by wide swaths of Republicans.The White House has insisted all options remain on the table.
Psaki also talked about the latest round of U.S. sanctions against Russia, targeting Putin’s press secretary and more Russian oligarchs.
Psaki said “one of the big factors” in choosing the targets of the sanctions is the individual’s “proximity to Putin.”
“We want him to feel the squeeze,” she said, adding that this won’t be the last round of sanctions against oligarchs.
The press secretary was also asked about Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s demand that Russia be stripped of its ability to vote on the United Nations Security Council.
Psaki said she doesn’t see that happening as Russia has a permanent seat on the Security Council, but says, “that is why it is so particularly disturbing that Russia, given its particular responsibility for upholding the U.N. charter, is actively subverting the charter charter and abusing its position.”
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