The US has revealed its “hypocrisy” by announcing a ban on Russian oil, while continuing to purchase it in large quantities, Vyacheslav Volodin, the speaker of Russia’s State Duma has said.
Washington claimed it had moved to restrict all imports of Russian crude oil, some petroleum products, liquefied natural gas and coal in early March as part of sanctions imposed on Moscow over the conflict in Ukraine.
“Russian oil will no longer be accepted at US ports,” US President Joe Biden vowed at the time. But the statement wasn’t backed up by action, Volodin pointed out in a Telegram post on Wednesday.
Data from the US Department of Energy suggests that “oil deliveries from Russia almost doubled in March compared to February – from 2,325 to 4,218 million barrels, respectively,” the parliamentary speaker wrote.
Despite the announced ban, “our country has risen from ninth to sixth place in the ranking of the largest oil suppliers to the US,” he added.
The fact that at the same time Washington had been pressuring the EU to give up on Russian oil, and succeeded in doing so, is “a clear sign of double standards,” Volodin said.
“Now let the European politicians and bureaucrats explain it to their citizens, why they should tolerate ‘Biden’s price hike’,” he wrote.
That comment was in reference to Joe Biden’s attempts to link high inflation, soaring gas and food prices with the Russian offensive in Ukraine, dubbing them as “Putin’s price hike.”
After weeks of debate, the EU agreed to a sixth round of sanctions against Moscow in late May, which among other things included a ban on Russian oil. The bloc decided to stop 75% of imports immediately, and 90% by the end of the year. However, Hungary and several other countries were given a waiver due to the inability of their economies to cope without Russian supplies.
Last week, Biden suggested that the US could even try to buy some Russian oil after the European embargo presumably drives its price down.
“There’s a whole lot of consideration going on about what can be done to maybe even purchase the oil but at a limited price,” the US president said when asked about how he was planning to deal with record gas prices. “There’d be an overwhelming need for the Russians to sell it, and it would be sold at a significantly lower price than the market is generating now,” he explained.
However, Russia cast doubt on Biden’s plan, with Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov insisting that the country won’t be selling its oil without profit. “The demand may fall in one place and rise elsewhere. The supply chains will reorientate as parties seek best conditions for trade,” Peskov said.