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Opinion | Praise for ‘Biden’s Courage’ in Imposing Oil Sanctions Against Russia

To the Editor:

Re “Biden Bans Russian Oil Imports as Civilian Toll in Ukraine Grows” (nytimes.com, March 8):

President Biden has announced a ban on importation of Russian oil into the United States. Until now, Vladimir Putin has had us over a barrel. More precisely, an oil barrel.

Mr. Biden and Western allies have elected to send weapons and to impose severe economic sanctions on Russia rather than risk escalation of Mr. Putin’s aggression by declaring a no-fly zone over Ukraine or committing troops on the ground. But these economic sanctions have lacked teeth. They exempted Russia’s energy and agricultural supplies, from which Mr. Putin reaps the financial rewards to fuel his war efforts.

The dilemma for Mr. Biden as the leader of these efforts has been that as he tries to secure “the soul of America” and stop the spread of authoritarian chaos, he has also promised to reduce inflation and rising prices at home. Imposing sanctions on Russian oil products will likely cripple Russia’s unstable economy, but will surely lead to even higher prices at the pump.

I applaud Mr. Biden’s courage in risking that Americans will be willing to bear these costs, no matter what this may cost him politically. Let’s hope our allies act together to support this decision.

Robert H. Klein
Orange, Conn.

To the Editor:

In support of President Volodymyr Zelensky and the brave people of Ukraine, and to counteract the higher price of oil and other commodities affected by Russian aggression against Ukrainians, why don’t all people in the free world actively try to cut their energy use by 10 percent?

Set thermostats back 1 or 2 degrees, consolidate trips to reduce miles you drive, eat at home one extra meal a week. Small sacrifices by each of us add up. It’s the very least we can do.

Lois Berkowitz
Oro Valley, Ariz.

To the Editor:

Yes, Vladimir Putin is a monster and the primary person who caused the war in Ukraine. But it is simplistic and morally wrong to solely blame him and refer to this as “Putin’s War.” The Russian people must also be held accountable. They have the power to put a stop to this war if enough rise up and revolt against Mr. Putin and his followers.

No doubt, many may be killed for their protests and resistance. But Ukrainian civilians are being murdered by the Russians and are showing the courage to fight for their country and basic human rights. The Russians need to demonstrate the same courage and stand up for what they know is right. They must revolt and stop the murder of innocent Ukrainians by their military.

Lawrence Heller
Baltimore

To the Editor:

Captured assets of Russian oligarchs and of other Russian leaders should be used to finance aid to Ukrainian refugees and to finance reconstruction of Ukraine. This would be a measure of justice.

To the Editor:

The Meaning of Lent to This Unchurched Christian,” by Margaret Renkl (Opinion guest essay, nytimes.com, Feb. 28), struck a chord.

I am a cradle Catholic who, along with many of my “companions in the faith,” have had a difficult time with the endless scandals, spiritual blindness and overt legalism of many in the institutional church.

Despite all this and after much prayer and contemplation, I have thrown in my lot with the church, believing that the institutional church is but one aspect of a deeper, multifaceted faith community that is the engine of salvation and the repository of truth.

Still, as a faithful Catholic, I find that it is not possible simply to shut one’s eyes to the hard facts of the church’s faults and failings, and so I have decided to call out my church and its leaders in whatever forums are available to me.

Ms. Renkl certainly has the platform she needs to do the same, hopefully without abandoning a faith life that has brought her so much peace and joy over the years. I will keep her in my prayers and ask that she do the same for me.

Bruce Daigle
Woonsocket, R.I.
The writer ​worked for 40 years as a Catholic school teacher and an administrator​.​

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