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Russia threatens response to US after Biden ‘declared economic war’

Russia's President Vladimir Putin. (Alexei Nikolsky/Russian Presidential Press and Information Office/TASS/Abaca Press/TNS)
March 09, 2022

The Russian government accused the United States of declaring an “economic war” and vowed to respond after President Joe Biden banned the import of Russian oil and gas in the U.S. on Tuesday.

In comments to the press reported by Reuters on Wednesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Biden’s decision to ban Russian oil and gas “demands a rather deep analysis” and said Russia is preparing its response. Peskov then said, “If you are asking me what Russia is going to do – Russia is going to do what is necessary to defend its interests.”

Biden banned the import of Russian oil and gas in the U.S. as an economic punishment for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Biden said the move “will deal another powerful blow to [Russian President Vladimir Putin’s] war machine.”

Peskov said, “The United States definitely has declared economic war against Russia and is waging this war.”

The Kremlin spokesperson did not specify exactly how Russia would respond to the oil and gas import ban by the U.S.

Peskov went on to refer to the U.S. ban on Russian oil and gas, along with a range of sanctions from the U.S. and other European allies, as a “bacchanalia.” A bacchanalia is an ancient Roman festival often associated with excessive wine-drinking as well as acts of unrestrained drunkenness and sexual conduct.

“You see the bacchanalia, the hostile bacchanalia, which the West has sown,” Peskov said. “And that of course makes the situation very difficult and forces us to think seriously.”

The U.S. action against Russian oil and gas will likely contribute to rising gas prices, which have increased rapidly in the days since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began. On Tuesday, the average price for a gallon of gas in the U.S. hit $4.17, surpassing the record high price set in July of 2008 and setting a new record. By Wednesday, the U.S. continued to rise to a new record high of $4.25 per gallon, according to AAA.

As of Wednesday, the Brent cost assessment for a barrel of crude oil was over $121.

Gas prices could be further affected if European allies follow the U.S. in banning the import of Russian gas.

Russian deputy prime minister Alexander Novak — who also oversees Russian energy affairs — warned on Monday that oil and gas prices could become unpredictable and the cost per barrel of crude could hit $300 if the U.S. and other European countries ban Russian gas imports, Reuters reported.