President Joe Biden blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine for contributing to inflation, which has largely affected Americans at the gas pump.
Biden’s remarks came after data released Thursday by the Labor Department showed that consumer prices spiked 0.8 percent in February and 7.9 percent over the last 12 months.
“Today’s inflation report is a reminder that Americans’ budgets are being stretched by price increases and families are starting to feel the impacts of Putin’s price hike. A large contributor to inflation this month was an increase in gas and energy prices as markets reacted to Putin’s aggressive actions,” Biden said in a statement.
“As I have said from the start, there will be costs at home as we impose crippling sanctions in response to Putin’s unprovoked war, but Americans can know this: the costs we are imposing on Putin and his cronies are far more devastating than the costs we are facing,” Biden added, noting that the United States secured a release of 60 million barrels of oil from our strategic reserves last week in an effort to bring down prices.
Biden recently announced a ban on Russian oil imports, dealing another blow to the Russian economy.
Last week, Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) acknowledged that banning Russian oil imports would “hurt” Americans by driving up energy prices but said that the inconvenience would be worth it if it means stopping Putin, whose invasion of Ukraine has drawn international condemnation.
“We are going to see price increases,” Murkowski said at the time. “Nobody wants to see that. And this is going to hurt. But we all need to recognize Europe is in the midst of a war with Russia now. Innocent people are dying, children are dying. We have not been in as volatile as a situation as anytime in my life. And so we are looking right now from a very short window.”
“He [Putin] has used energy as a weapon and we are afraid to have it on the table? I’m sorry, he put it on the table. This is not going to be easy on Europe or the United States. Hopefully it will be most difficult on Russia,” she continued.
Hurting the Russian energy sector is the “most significant” tool the United States has, she noted.
Alan is a writer, editor, and news junkie based in New York.