US welcomes EU ban on Russian oil, calls for long-term effort

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Ukraine war: EU leaders decided on Monday to ban more than two-thirds of Russian oil imports.

Washington:

The United States on Tuesday welcomed the European Union’s decision to cut Russian oil imports and called for long-term efforts to further reduce dependence on Moscow.

“We welcome the steps taken by our European allies and partners to reduce their dependence on Russian oil and natural gas,” State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters.

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He said there was “broad support” among US allies for “cutting the strength of the Russian war machine, and that’s Russia’s energy market.”

“The EU has taken an important step on this short-term path, but there is also a longer-term path that has less to do with the day-to-day and more with trends over time and the broader need to reduce our dependence on Russian energy.”

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He said the European move was also in line with goals backed by President Joe Biden of reducing reliance on fossil fuels in a bid to tackle climate change.

European leaders agreed on Monday to ban more than two-thirds of Russian oil imports, the toughest step the bloc has taken so far in response to Russia’s February 24 invasion of Ukraine.

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But in an exemption to please Hungary, which is landlocked and led by nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban, the deal includes a “temporary exemption” for Russian crude sent by pipeline.

Biden banned Russian oil and gas days after the invasion, a politically easier move in the United States that does not depend on energy imports from Moscow.

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