Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Sunday the U.S. is in the midst of “very active discussions” on possibly banning imports of Russian oil.
Blinken’s comments coincide with a growing bipartisan push from lawmakers to ban Russian oil imports after Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine. Blinken noted Sunday that the U.S. is discussing this option with its European partners, adding that it remains important to maintain “a steady global supply of oil.”
“I spoke to the President and the cabinet, the leading members of the cabinet, about this just yesterday from Europe,” Blinken said on NBC News. “And we are now in very active discussions with our European partners about banning the import of Russian oil to our countries while, of course, at the same time maintaining a steady global supply of oil. ”
Blinken touted the actions the administration and allies have already taken with regards to Russia, such as removing select Russian banks from SWIFT, the worldwide financial messaging system. He said the collective sanctions have “had a devastating impact on the Russian economy” and offered the clearest sign to date that the U.S. may move forward with banning oil imports.
Last week, White House press secretary Jen Psaki was repeatedly asked about this prospect during press briefings. On Thursday, she seemed to dismiss the idea, saying the U.S. doesn’t “have a strategic interest in reducing the global supply of energy.” (RELATED: ‘Putin Chose This War’: Biden Lays Out New Sanctions Against Russia After Full-Scale Invasion)
During that press briefing, Psaki also said banning imports of Russian oil “would raise prices at the gas pump for the American people around the world because it would reduce the supply available.”
Her comments came one day after President Joe Biden said “nothing is off the table” when pressed about the possibility of banning Russian oil imports.
On Friday, Psaki suggested the administration was, in fact, open to the idea, telling reporters that the Biden administration is “looking at options we could take right now to cut U.S. consumption of Russian energy.”
“We are very focused on minimizing the impact to families,” she added, without detailing any specific plan.