Psaki seeks to defend Biden decision to not sanction Russia’s profitable energy sector amid Ukraine invasion

President Joe Biden, in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, authorized a number of severe economic sanctions against Russia that, quite remarkably, don’t target that nation’s extraordinarily profitable oil and gas production and energy sector.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Thursday largely danced around the issue of why the one thing that could swiftly end Russia’s aggression — directly sanctioning its energy sector — was not being pursued, Breitbart reported.

She did, however, put forward a variety of excuses for the lack of any sanctions on Russia’s oil and gas industry, some of which were at least somewhat legitimate and plausible, others not so much.

The Russian energy sector was deliberately excluded from economic sanctions

It was President Biden himself, in his remarks in the immediate aftermath of the Russian invasion, who made note that Russia’s highly profitable energy sector had been excluded from the otherwise financially punishing economic sanctions.

Incredibly, at the same time that he refused to cut into Russia’s main source of revenue — its oil and gas production — he chastised American oil and gas producers and warned them to not “exploit” the situation to reap larger profits for themselves.

This, even as he acknowledged that gas prices were surging and causing great “disruption” to energy markets here at home and around the globe.

Excuses, excuses

As for Psaki, she faced several questions during Thursday’s press briefing about the current lack of sanctions on Russian energy and even shot down rumors that the administration was — finally — considering applying such sanctions, such as a ban on the import of Russian oil.

Psaki said the “objective has been to maximize impact on President Putin and Russia, while minimizing impact to us and our allies and partners.” She further noted that “we don’t have a strategic interest in reducing the global supply of energy,” as that would further increase prices for American consumers.

She also dubiously suggested that no longer purchasing expensive oil from Russia would somehow have “the potential to pad the pockets of President Putin, which is exactly what we are not trying to do.” Yet, that makes no sense, as not buying Russian oil means Putin wouldn’t be making any more money.

Don’t look to Biden for any help on this issue

Psaki went on to tell reporters that the current situation provided a great opportunity for both Europe and the U.S. to further “diversify” their means of energy production and reduce consumption of oil altogether, not just from Russia.

She also downplayed the amount of oil the U.S. purchases from Russia and seemed to suggest that U.S. oil and gas companies weren’t doing enough to maximize production on land where drilling and production was already occurring. Further, she dismissed the idea of renewing authorization for the Keystone XL pipeline Biden had canceled on his first day in office, suggesting it wouldn’t make a difference even it had been approved and constructed.

In the end, regardless of Psaki’s repeated assurances that Biden was “doing everything possible” to both reduce oil prices and hit Putin where it hurt the most, it was made abundantly clear that he has no intention whatsoever of encouraging or promoting more domestic production, and instead is simply allowing Putin to continue reaping profits amid his invasion of Ukraine while American families bear the brunt of the cost.

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