- Biden said Americans would likely feel the effects of a Russian invasion of Ukraine, including rising energy prices.
- This is because Russia is a major oil exporter and would likely face sanctions if it invades Ukraine.
- Biden said the US was ready to respond to Russia and would take steps to mitigate price rises.
President Joe Biden on Tuesday warned he could not promise that a Russian invasion of Ukraine would be “painless” for Americans, and that such an event could result in higher energy prices.
“I will not pretend this will be painless,” he said in a speech from the White House.
“There could be impact on our energy prices, so we are taking active steps to alleviate the pressure on our own energy markets and offset rising prices.”
“We’re coordinating with major energy — energy consumers and producers. We’re prepared to deploy all the tools and authority at our disposal to provide relief at the gas pump.
“And I will work with Congress on additional measures to help protect consumers and address the impact of prices at the pump.”
Analysts have warned that energy prices could rise if countries put sanctions on Russia for taking action against Ukraine, as Russia may not be able to export energy supplies.
Russia produces about 10 million barrels of oil a day. The world consumes about 100 million barrels of oil a day, according to the US Energy Information Administration. Any effect on Russian exports would affect the global market.
Biden also addressed the Russian people in his speech, saying: “To the citizens of Russia: You are not our enemy, and I do not believe you want a bloody, destructive war against Ukraine — a country and people with whom you share such deep ties of family history and culture.”
He said the US was prepared for any outcome.
“We are not seeking direct confrontation with Russia, though I have been clear that if Russia targets Americans in Ukraine, we will respond forcefully,” he said. Biden has previously warned Russian President Vladimir Putin of heavy sanctions if Russia invaded Ukraine.
Russia said on Tuesday that it was pulling back some troops from Ukraine’s border. But Western countries have been skeptical, and Biden said the US had not been able to verify Russia’s claim.
“The fact remains right now, Russia has more than 150,000 troops encircling Ukraine,” he said. “An invasion remains distinctly possible.”