by Vrittee Sobti ’25
Published Apr. 8th, 2022
On February 24, 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine. The invasion spread panic and destruction across Ukraine, displacing at least 10 million people, killing thousands, and causing billions of dollars in property damage.
Outrage spread globally, with many governments placing restrictive sanctions on Russia. These sanctions, or economic penalties, have had huge impacts on Russia’s economy, with the stock market dropping 33% and Russia’s currency losing as much as a quarter of its value, all within hours.
The US has imposed sanctions on many Russian items, including luxury goods, travel, Russian banks, and oil and gas.
On March 8, 2022, US President Joe Biden signed an executive order banning the import of Russian oil, liquefied natural gas, and coal. In 2021, almost 700,000 barrels of crude oil and refined petroleum products were imported from Russia to the US, per day.
Since oil is one of the most important exports for Russia, this ban issued by the US and other countries will deprive Russia of billions of dollars that it needs to continue the Ukrainian war.
Unfortunately, this ban will also have pitfalls in the US. Russian oil makes up about 20% of US’s crude oil imports, and without that, gas prices will skyrocket. Gas prices have already reached an all time high. The highest recorded price, prior to this year, was $4.114, which was set on July 17, 2008, reported by AAA. As of March 23, 2022, the average national gas price is a whopping $4.237.
Fas companies are also taking action and working alongside the government to stop the use of Russian oil. Shell, a major gas company, tweeted about its “intent to withdraw from all Russian oil & gas, aligned with new government guidance. As an immediate first step, [Shell] will stop all spot purchases of Russian crude oil, shut service stations, aviation fuels & lubricants operations in Russia.”
Countries and corporations that are able to support Ukraine have been doing their best, and the move to ban oil and gas, while irritating and problematic for those who need fuel, is a good start. Cutting off and isolating the Russian economy is the first step into stripping Russia of the tools it needs to stay in war.
All that being said, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte warned that “if countries moved too quickly to ban Russian oil and gas, it could backfire with enormous consequences.”