US in ‘active’ talks with allies to ban Russian crude oil: Secretary of state

The US and its allies are in “active” talks to ban Russian crude oil imports, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said late Sunday.

“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,” he told US television channel NBC.

Blinken said he spoke to President Joe Biden and the leading members of the Cabinet about the topic on Saturday.

On whether the US would impose a unilateral ban on Russian crude oil, Blinken said: “A hallmark of everything we’ve done to date has been this coordination with allies and partners. We are much more effective across the board.”

After Blinken’s comments, crude oil prices soared almost 10% overnight.

International oil benchmark Brent crude jumped early Monday to $130.89. American benchmark West Texas Intermediate jumped to $130.33. Both benchmarks marked their highest levels since July 22, 2008, according to official figures.

Rising prices have become a major issue for American consumers.

Last week, gasoline prices in the US climbed to their highest level in almost 10 years. The national average stood at $3.837 a gallon for regular gasoline, its highest since September 2012.

Biden during his State of the Union address on March 1 said his administration was coordinating with 30 other countries to release 60 million barrels of oil in global reserves, half of which would come from the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

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