Ukraine-Russia: UK announces plan to phase out Russian oil imports by end of year

The UK has announced it will phase out the import of Russian oil and oil products by the end of the year as part of its sanctions on Moscow for invading Ukraine, the business secretary has announced.

The move announced by Kwasi Kwarteng was matched by US President Joe Biden as the West looks to tighten the squeeze on the Russian economy following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

In a statement posted on Twitter, the business secretary said: “This transition will give the market, businesses and supply chains more than enough time to replace Russian imports – which make up 8 per cent of UK demand.”

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The UK has announced it will phase out the importing of Russian oil and gas by the end of the year, in a move that could place a greater dependency on North Sea oil

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He urged businesses to “use this year to ensure a smooth transition so that consumers will not be affected”.

A new taskforce will also be established to help firms find “alternative supplies” before the ban comes into force by 2023, the Cabinet minister pledged.

Mr Kwarteng said: “The UK is a significant producer of oil and oil products, plus we hold significant reserves.

“Beyond Russia, the vast majority of our imports come from reliable partners such as the US, Netherlands and the Gulf.

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“We’ll work with them this year to secure further supplies.

“The market has already begun to ostracise Russian oil, with nearly 70 per cent of it currently unable to find a buyer.

“Finally, while the UK is not dependent on Russian natural gas, 4 per cent of our supply, I am exploring options to end this altogether.”

Making the announcement in Washington only minutes after Mr Kwarteng, Mr Biden said the US opting to ban Russian oil would be a “powerful blow” to the war being raged by President Vladimir Putin on Kyiv.

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But he warned Americans the sanction would have ripple effects at home, telling them that “defending freedom is going to cost”.

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