TAMPA, Fla. — Florida Senator Marco Rubio backed President Joe Biden’s move Tuesday to ban all Russian oil imports in response to Vladimir Putin’s invasion and siege of Ukraine.
“It’s the right thing to do. We import about 200,000 barrels of Russian oil, it’s about less than 8 percent of our total petroleum products and we can easily make that up by producing American oil,” Rubio told ABC Action News.
Still, while Senator Rubio backed the banning of Russian oil imports, he said the Biden Administration was too slow to respond to the challenge of a Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“We knew this conflict was coming, I knew, and this administration knew as early as late last year that an invasion was highly likely,” Rubio said. “We knew that an invasion of Ukraine would lead to higher oil prices. We should have begun to put in place the ability to replace not just Russian oil, but to add to more of our own domestic production as a way of lowering prices. We know OPEC and others are simply not going to increase production. We knew that. We should have started working on that months ago.”
Rubio said experts have told him that U.S. domestic oil production could “in less than six months be in a position where we’ve more than made up” for the loss of Russian oil to the marketplace in the U.S.
“I don’t understand what the opposition to that is. How is a barrel of oil produced in America any worse for the climate than a barrel of oil from Saudi Arabia, or a barrel of oil from Canada, or a barrel of oil from anywhere else on the planet,” Rubio said. “I think it’s’ something we can do. Something we can do very quickly.”
But when it comes to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Senator Rubio said Russian dictator Vladimir Putin was in a “very impossible position” and that there’s “no victory for him in Ukraine.”
“The best case for him is a protracted and costly military victory followed by a very costly and painful military occupation which he can’t afford and would face a persistent insurgency,” Rubio said. “That’s his best-case scenario. His worst-case scenario is a military quagmire that ends in humiliation. And Vladimir Putin is not in the position to accept an outcome that either humiliates him or makes it look like he backed down.”
Rubio said he remained concerned about the possible usage of chemical or biological weapons as a false flag to blame NATO along with Russia eventually targeting NATO supplies coming into Ukraine.
“I think at some point very soon, you’re going to see Russia start to target those convoys that are coming across the border from Poland and try to knock those out. And again, that puts him very close to where American and NATO troops are embedded,” Rubio said.