Biden says he ‘can’t do much’ about rising gas prices, blames Russia

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Officials said President Biden had struggled for days over the move amid deep concerns about accelerating the already rapid rise in the price of gasoline.

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President Biden on Tuesday banned imports of Russian oil, gas, and coal in response to what he called President Vladimir V. Putin’s “vicious war of choice” in Ukraine

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“Defending freedom is going to cost,” Mr. Biden said in televised remarks announcing the ban at the White House. 

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The president’s move immediately shut off a relatively small flow of oil into the USA, but it was followed by a British pledge to phase out imports of Russian oil.

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The impact of the decisions quickly rippled across the global energy market amid fears that the supply of oil would shrink. 

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In the United States, the national average price of a gallon of regular gasoline, which had already surged in recent weeks, reached $4.173 

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“If we do not respond to Putin’s assault on global peace and stability today, the cost of freedom and to the American people will be even greater tomorrow,” Mr. Biden said. 

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Under intense, bipartisan pressure from lawmakers to deny Russia any more oil revenue from Americans

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Mr. Biden acted without the unity among allies that has characterized most of the response to Russia’s aggression during the past several months. 

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In Italy, which imports 40 percent of its energy as Russian gas, Prime Minister Mario Draghi has said the overdependence on Russian gas is a strategic weakness for the country. 

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Even as Mr. Biden spoke, describing his ban as “another powerful blow to Putin’s war machine,”  

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McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Pepsico, and Starbucks announced that they would temporarily close all restaurants and pause all operations in Russia in response to the invasion of Ukraine 

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Amazon stopped letting customers in Russia and Belarus open new cloud computing accounts.  

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Shell, Europe’s largest oil company, said it would begin withdrawing from its involvement “in all Russian hydrocarbons