UK and US to ban Russian oil imports over Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine

Boris Johnson has said the UK government’s decision “won’t affect” domestic businesses.

The UK is banning the import of Russian oil and oil products by the end of 2022 in response to Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine, while US President Joe Biden says America will also ban Russian oil imports.

In the UK, a new taskforce will be established to help firms find “alternative supplies” before the ban comes into force by 2023, with the Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng saying firms should have sufficient time to prepare for the change.

Mr Kwarteng said: "This transition will give the market, businesses and supply chains more than enough time to replace Russian imports – which make up 8% of UK demand.

"Businesses should use this year to ensure a smooth transition so that consumers will not be affected."

Mr Kwarteng added he is also exploring options to end the use of Russian gas in the UK, as it makes up just 4% of supply.

Mr Biden went further than the UK by banning all Russian oil, gas and energy - a decision he said was "targeting the main artery of Russia's economy".

As ITV News US Correspondent Emma Murphy notes, the US President has said the oil ban is designed “to inflict further pain on Putin” and seems to have cross-party support.

Mr Biden said that the Russian economy is being crippled as penalty for “Russia’s vicious war of choice”.

But he acknowledged that US consumers will likely see rising prices as a result, saying: “Defending freedom is going to cost.”

With Americans already gripped by a cost of living crisis, the move could prove politically damaging for the president as he heads into the November midterm elections.

In 2021, the US imported some 245 million barrels of crude oil and petroleum products from Russia.

As ITV News Business and Economics Editor Joel Hills writes, the US and UK bans amounts to a relatively small amount of Russian exports- so the move is symbolically powerful but not significantly economically damaging.

Boris Johnson has suggested the US announcement could push diesel prices up further, with costs at the pumps already having soared following Moscow’s attack on Kyiv.

Brent crude rose 7% to 131.95 dollars per barrel on Tuesday after media reports surfaced that the US was contemplating an oil ban sanction.

A year ago, Brent was trading at around 61 dollars per barrel.

But the PM said the UK was “less exposed” than some European nations when it came to restricting Russian oil.

Energy giant Shell has pledged to stop buying oil from Russia. Credit: AP

The UK-US moves came after the boss of Shell said he is "sorry" for buying a shipment of Russian oil last week as he announced the fuel giant would abandon the country over its war in Ukraine.

The company said it would immediately stop buying Russian crude oil on the spot market and will shut service stations, aviation fuel and lubricants operations in Russia.

Shell confirmed it has around 500 service stations across Russia that will shut following the move.