The US is “actively” discussing with the EU the possibility of banning the import of crude oil from Russia | International

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The US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, has continued this Sunday with a stopover in Lithuania a frantic diplomatic tour of Europe to intensify the response to the war in Ukraine. The five-day trip will conclude on Tuesday with a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris. Before returning to Washington, he will also speak with his Israeli counterpart, Yair Lapid, in Riga, the capital of Latvia. Israel has offered to mediate between Kiev and Moscow.

In various interviews with US television networks, the person in charge of the diplomacy of the Biden Administration has pointed out the main points of his European agenda: the possibility that his country prohibit the import of crude oil from Russia, for which he is in talks “ very active” with the EU; the delivery of former Soviet military aircraft to Ukraine by Poland, an initiative that Warsaw rejects, and the documentation of attacks against civilians in Ukraine, of which, Blinken said, there is “credible evidence”.

The head of US diplomacy, who will meet this Tuesday with the French president, Emmanuel Macron, to coordinate the next steps in the response to the invasion, has advanced in statements to the CNN network that his country debates "very actively" with the European Union the ban on importing crude oil from Russia to suffocate its economy. But the imbalance between the needs of the US, which imports 8% of the oil it consumes from Russia, and its dependence on the EU (41% of natural gas and 27% of oil), complicates a joint response, especially in full inflationary pressure. Until now, the Russian energy industry has emerged practically unscathed from Western sanctions, due to European reticence.

A broad representation of the US Congress, without ideological distinction, supports the Ukrainian request to cut off the Russian crude tap, which would deal a severe blow to the economy, even more serious for the population than for the oligarchs who support Putin.

The United States is also trying to increase its cooperation with Poland, a NATO partner, to send more planes to Ukraine, as President Volodymyr Zelensky demanded this Saturday from a representative of Congress, given that the air force is one of the Achilles' heels of the Ukrainian Army. The initiative would consist of Poland giving Ukraine old MiG-type Soviet-made fighters, in which Ukrainian military pilots have learned to fly. In exchange, Washington would give Poland more modern aircraft, presumably F-16s. The US has given the green light to NATO countries to deliver this type of supplies, but that would mean, for Moscow, being a belligerent party in the war.

Polish interlocutors do not seem enthusiastic about the idea. After President Andrzej Duda said last week that Poland would not hand over aircraft, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki's office wrote on Twitter on Sunday: “Poland will not send its warplanes to Ukraine or allow use of its airports. We help significantly in many areas.”

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Blinken, who visited Poland this Saturday, has made it clear in any case that it is "a sovereign decision" of Warsaw. This Monday, he will receive information about the meeting held on Saturday in the Kremlin between President Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett. Blinken will meet in Riga, the capital of Latvia, with his counterpart Yair Lapid. Israel has positioned itself as a possible mediator between Kiev and Moscow.

Days after the International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor's Office opened a war crimes investigation in Ukraine, the United States says it is examining and documenting reports of Russian attacks on civilians during the offensive. “We have seen very credible reports of deliberate attacks against the civilian population, which would constitute a war crime,” Blinken said on Sunday. Nothing that innumerable photographs have not shown these days, like the one that this Sunday shows the corpses of a woman and her two children while they tried to escape from Irpin, while her father, the only survivor, receives help from the Ukrainian soldiers . The evidence that the Russian offensive is targeting civilians is compelling.

Blinken will end a five-day visit to Europe with a Tuesday afternoon meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron. The stopover in Paris was added to allow continued coordination of assistance to Ukraine, State Department spokesman Ned Price said on Sunday. Macron and Blinken are also likely to discuss the progress of negotiations to restore the Iran nuclear deal.

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