WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden banned Russian oil and other energy imports into the United States on Tuesday (Mar 8), increasing pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin to halt his devastating assault on Ukraine, but an attempt to evacuate civilians from the besieged port city of Mariupol failed.
Ukraine’s government accused Russian soldiers of shelling a humanitarian corridor promised by Moscow to allow inhabitants to evacuate Mariupol. A deputy prime minister described the humanitarian situation as “catastrophic.”
The conflict’s civilian death toll has risen. With the battle in its 13th day, the number of refugees fleeing Ukraine to neighboring countries has surpassed 2 million.
“Russia may continue to grind out its advance at a terrible cost, but one thing is certain: Ukraine will never be a Putin win,” Biden told reporters at the White House.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy asked for further sanctions while speaking to Britain’s parliament via videolink.
He stated that his people would fight till the end against the Russian invaders, but that they required assistance, including no-fly zones.
“The question for us now is whether we should be or not,” Zelenskyy remarked, paraphrasing Shakespeare.”I can give you a definitive answer: it’s definitely to be.”
Standing ovations were given to him by lawmakers, however at least one afterwards stated that a no-fly zone was out of the question since it may lead to a wider European conflict.
Sanctions implemented by the West in response to the invasion have already cut Russia off from global trade and financial markets. Russia is the world’s largest exporter of oil and natural gas, but these exports have previously been protected from international sanctions.
“That means Russian oil will no longer be admissible in US ports,” Biden said, “and the American people will give another powerful blow to Putin’s war machine.”