Rubio calls on Biden to ‘decrease’ Putin’s ‘leverage’ on energy by lifting restrictions

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ORLANDO, Fla. — Sen. Marco Rubio, in an interview with Fox News Digital on Friday, said Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “influence on the world” is energy, and called on the Biden administration to “decline.” this power by lifting the restrictions imposed on the United States. energy production.

During an interview with Fox News Digital on the sidelines of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Friday, Rubio, R-Fla., said he wished the Biden administration had been “more proactive” in its response to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

“It seems like we’re just reacting to whatever’s going on,” Rubio told Fox News Digital. “I don’t understand – we know that Putin’s main lever in the world is energy, especially in Europe, where 50% of their natural gas comes from Russia.”

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“Why isn’t the United States announcing, you know what? We’re going to stop all these crazy restrictions on oil and natural gas and offer that to the world to, you know, diminish Putin’s influence on Europe, but often on us. because oil prices are about to skyrocket,” Rubio said.

On Thursday, President Biden announced additional sanctions against Russia for his multi-pronged war on Ukraine, but refrained from sanctioning Putin himself and did not announce a ban on Russia from the banking system. SWIFT, saying Europe did not agree with such a move.

Biden said the sanctions, in coordination with a coalition of other nations, would target more big Russian banks, including VTB, Sberbank, Bank Otkritie, Sovcombank OJSC and Novikombank. The sanctions will make it harder for Russia to do business in dollars, euros, pounds and yen, and there will be “new limitations” on what can be exported to Russia, he said.

Sanctions will also target Russian elites: Sergei Ivanov and his son Sergei, Andrey Patrushev and his son Nikolai, Igor Sechin and his son Ivan, Andrey Puchkov, Yuriy Solviev and two real estate companies he owns, Galina Ulyutina, and Alexander Vedyakhin, the United States said.

The sanctions will also limit borrowing opportunities for 13 Russian entities and companies, according to the United States: Sberbank, AlfaBank, Credit Bank of Moscow, Gazprombank, Russian Agricultural Bank, Gazprom, Gazprom Neft, Transneft, Rostelecom, RusHydro, Alrosa, Sovcomflot, and Russian Railways.

“I think all the sanctions are going to hurt him – but that won’t stop him,” Rubio said of Putin. “They won’t bring this regime down, but they are a consequence of what it has done, and it is a consequence that other nations will have to wait for before making the decision to act.”

Rubio, however, said one of the “most important things” the United States can do is make sure the Ukrainian government is recognized.

“The Ukrainians, what you’ve already seen in the first 48 hours, they’re not just going to turn around and let these guys in,” Rubio said. “I mean, the invasion part is tough, but it’s going to be the easiest part for the Russians.”

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“The hardest part will be trying to occupy this country where you’re going to have millions of people who don’t want you there, have combat experience and are ready to die fighting,” he said. for follow-up. “So it’s going to be a very painful experience for him, and we should help the people of Ukraine as much as we can to help them help themselves. And so that’s what I hope we will do. .”