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U.S. may act alone on Russian oil ban

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STORY: In a move to further punish Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, the United States is considering a ban on Russian oil imports without the participation of allies in Europe, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters Monday.

The White House is said to be negotiating with U.S. congressional leaders who are working on fast-tracking legislation, though White House press secretary Jen Psaki said there's no decision yet.

“No decision has been made at this point by the president about a ban on import, a ban importing oil from Russia. And those discussions are ongoing internally and also with our counterparts and partners in Europe and around the world.”

President Joe Biden Monday tried to press his case in a video conference call with the leaders of France, Germany and the United Kingdom.

But Germany, the biggest buyer of Russian crude oil, has so far rejected pressure for a ban.

The United States, which has imposed a host of painful sanctions against the Russian economy, Vladimir Putin, and many Russian billionaires since the invasion began, has stopped short of targeting Russia's oil and gas, worried it could drive energy prices even higher.

Oil prices have soared to levels not seen since 2008, and Americans are getting sticker shock at the pump – but some don’t mind if it means condemning Russia.

TIM JOYCE: "As far as I'm concerned, we should raise the gas prices, I mean, stop importing oil from Russia and put the hurt on them. It’s going to make inflation go up even higher, but we’ve got to do what we’ve got to do.”

Meanwhile, Axios reported that President Biden might make a trip to Saudi Arabia, as the United States seeks to get Riyadh to increase energy production.

A White House official didn't deny the report, but said it was “premature speculation" and that nothing was planned yet.