US in “active discussions” on banning Russian oil imports while Moscow targets Ukrainian urban centers

US in “active discussions” on banning Russian oil imports while Moscow targets Ukrainian urban centers

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Washington is in “very active talks” with its European partners to ban oil imports from Russia as Ukraine prepares for a broader offensive on its urban centers.

Restrictions on Russian oil would be a major step in the West’s response to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, with potentially serious consequences for the global economy. It would also mark a turnaround for the White House, which rejected bilateral calls to ban Russian oil imports into the U.S., saying the embargo would limit global supply and raise prices for consumers.

The move would further isolate the Russian economy, which is already rocking under heavy sanctions and a growing boycott of companies. This weekend, the payment networks Mastercard, Visa and American Express, PwC accountants, the Netflix streaming service and the social video application TikTok added their names to the long list of companies withdrawing from Russia.

Blinken told NBC on Sunday that he had talked to U.S. President Joe Biden and the cabinet about the oil crossing. His comments came at a time when Ukrainian civilians were bearing the brunt of the Kremlin’s growing offensive, prompting thousands of Russians to take to the streets of Moscow and other cities in protest.

“We are now in very active talks with our European partners on banning the import of Russian oil into our countries, while, of course, at the same time maintaining a constant global oil supply,” Blinken said.

The United States wanted a coordinated response with its partners, but Blinken added: “I will not rule out taking action one way or another, no matter what they do.”

Asked about Blinken’s comments, the senior French official said that European and “other” partners are examining further sanctions, without stating how far the talks have progressed.

“The question today is to see how we can resort to strategic reserves to stop further price increases in the oil and gas markets, and also, in the long run, how we manage our stocks and stocks,” the official said.

British officials do not rule out a complete ban on the import of Russian oil, but one described the idea as a “drastic move”.

British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has asked British officials to investigate the idea of ​​a “ceiling” on Russian energy imports that would shrink over time, alleviating the likely economic shock.

Russian forces continued to attack populated areas and civilian infrastructure across Ukraine on Sunday, the 11th day of Vladimir Putin’s invasion. Attempts to evacuate 200,000 people from the besieged port city of Mariupol, where many have been living in frozen basements without basic services since last week and under heavy Russian bombing, failed for the second day in a row.

In Irpin, west of Kiev, Russian forces allegedly shot at people fleeing the city, killing eight.

President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russia was planning an attack on Ukraine’s third-largest city of Odessa, a move expected by defense officials as Putin’s troops advanced across the coast, threatening Ukraine’s access to the Black and Azov Seas.

After Russia fired cruise missiles deep into western Ukraine and hit the airport in Vinjica, Zelensky again asked the international community to impose no-fly zone over Ukraine – an idea that NATO rejected as non-initial because it risked a direct confrontation between the alliance and Russia.

If they failed to close the Ukrainian skies to Russian planes, Zelensky said at a video briefing, there was only one conclusion: “You want them to kill us very slowly.”

In a two-hour telephone conversation with French President Emmanuel Macron, Putin denied that Russian forces had targeted civilians during their bombing of Ukrainian cities, according to a French official.

As Russia seeks to strengthen its control over southern Ukraine, defense analysts say Russian troops have faced unexpectedly strong resistance from the Ukrainian military and angry locals in the cities and towns they have occupied.

In Kherson, the largest city to be occupied, videos posted online on Saturday show residents gathering in large numbers and directly clashing with Russian troops. Protests were also reported over the weekend in Melitopol, Berdyansk and other Russian-controlled cities.

“People are driving the Russians out of our territory, blocking their roads,” Zelenski said. “Every meter of Ukrainian land conquered by the protest and humiliation of the invaders is a step towards the victory of our entire state.”

Thousands across Russia protested Sunday against the war, defying threats of long prison sentences for anyone who expresses opposition. More than 4,300 people were detained in 56 cities, according to the independent OVD Info monitor, which also shared videos of aggressive arrest tactics by intervention police armed with truncheons. The demonstrations included those held near the Kremlin walls in Moscow and downtown St. Petersburg.

United Kingdom Department of Defense he said that Russia targeted populated areas in several locations, including Kharkiv, Chernihiv and Mariupol. The attack was an “effort to break Ukrainian morale” similar to the devastating Moscow bombing campaigns in Chechnya in 1999 and Syria in 2016, it said.

Russia has bombed civilian targets, including residential buildings, schools and health facilities.

World Health Organization he said has confirmed six cases of Russian attacks on health facilities that have caused “multiple deaths and injuries” and is investigating several reports.

Filippo Grandi, head of the UN refugee agency, said the conflict had led to more than 1.5 million people moving to neighboring countries in 10 days, making it “the fastest-growing refugee crisis in Europe since World War II.” “.

Additional reporting by Sarah White of Paris and George Parker of London

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