The US will make the move unilaterally, without its European allies, due to disagreement among European nations about whether to ban Russian energy imports. EU countries have significantly more exposure to Russian energy than the US.
US officials decided, given the extreme political pressure at home, they could move without the coalition and not create major issues.
A Treasury Department spokesperson declined to comment.
US imports from Russia make up a small slice of the energy universe — roughly 8% in 2021, of which only about 3% was crude oil. White House economic officials have been engaged for more than a week as to how to manage any decision to cut off those imports, officials say.
Those efforts have grown more intense in recent days as it became almost certain the US would impose a ban this week, one official said.
In both public and private conversations, top American allies have said the US would likely be acting on its own should it target Russian energy imports. That raised its own concerns at the White House, as US officials remain wary of pursuing any action that would fragment the carefully coordinated alliance that has served as the focal point of the response up to this point.
However, political pressure from both Republicans and Democrats made putting off a ban untenable.
“It is a fairly small percentage of the energy coming into the US, but it’s critical for western Europe,” Delaware Sen. Chris Coons said Tuesday morning on CNN’s “New Day.”
The Democrat added, “The strength of our sanctions, of the costs we’re imposing on Putin for this brutal invasion of Ukraine are more successful and more sustainable when they’re coordinated. So, I respect the fact that the administration is coordinating with our European allies and making sure that we have done the groundwork to understand how to effectively implement a ban on Russian energy.”
This is a breaking story and will be updated.