“As I said last week, defending freedom will have a price, for us, too, here at home,” Biden said. “We need to be honest about that. But while we do that, I will be taking drastic measures to make sure that the pain of our sanctions targets the Russian economy, not ours.”
Going forward, Biden said the administration is “closely monitoring the energy supply for any outages.”
“We are implementing a plan in coordination with major oil-producing consumers and oil producers toward collective investment to secure stability and global energy supplies,” he told reporters at the White House East Rome. “This is going to..it will bring down gas prices. I want to reduce the pain the American people feel at the gas pump. This is very important to me.”
The president has been hit politically by the high costs Americans feel from rising gas prices and other inflationary pressures ahead of the November midterm elections, as Democrats try to maintain control of Congress.
The president’s comments came as he announced what he called a “first batch” of new sanctions against Russia, including on two major financial institutions, Russia’s sovereign debt, Russian elites and their family members. He said these moves would effectively cut off the Russian government from Western funding.
A senior administration official later told reporters that the White House was “totally deliberate” in ensuring that “the pain of our sanctions is targeting the Russian economy, not the Russian economy.”
“None of the measures are designed to disrupt the flow of energy to global markets, and we are now implementing a plan, in coordination with major oil consumers and oil producers, towards our collective interest of securing the stability of global energy supplies.” official said.
The official added that the rise in gas prices was not a direct result of the pipeline halt, but rather due to concerns that Russian President Vladimir Putin might use energy supplies as a weapon to “hold the world hostage.”
The 750-mile pipeline was completed last September, but it has yet to receive final certification from German regulators. Without this certificate, natural gas cannot flow through the Baltic Sea pipeline from Russia to Germany.
Gas supplies from Russia play an essential role in power generation and home heating in Central and Eastern Europe, and Germany is Russia’s largest gas customer. But the United States, the United Kingdom, Ukraine and several European Union countries have opposed the pipeline since it was announced in 2015, warning that the project would increase Moscow’s influence in Europe.
The official added that Tuesday’s decision aims to “reduce Europe’s addiction to Russian gas,” adding that the United States will work in coordination with allies to increase national gas supplies from other sources in a bid to address the shortage.
Deputy National Security Adviser Dalip Singh said in a White House briefing later in the day that the administration’s efforts first include “coordinating our actions with major energy producers. We all have reserves at our disposal, and these reserves can help support energy supplies across the globe.” the scientist. . “
Second, Singh said that many major energy producers “have spare capacity to supply the global energy markets and balance the market in the event of any supply disruption.”
“Third, we can work with energy companies to increase their ability to provide energy to the market, especially with higher prices. And in fourth place, we can be very clear that if President Putin arms the energy supply, it will only accelerate the diversification of the energy supply,” he added. Europe and the world are far from Russian energy.”
Biden had indicated earlier this month that the United States was evaluating how it could help Europe with alternative energy supplies in the event of a conflict with Russia – currently the world’s second-largest oil producer.
US oil prices reached their highest level in seven years and gasoline prices rose sharply. The current price is just under $100 a barrel. According to AAA, the national average for gasoline is $3.53 a gallon, up 20 cents last month.
But the effect of releasing these reserves has been limited.
Just two months after Biden’s historic intervention, he is under pressure to tap the Strategic Petroleum Reserve once again. But these contingency reserves have a limited number of barrels.
CNN’s Matt Egan, Anakin Tab, Charles Riley, Julia Horowitz, Laura He, and Rob McClain contributed to this report.