China News Agency, Beijing, March 9. London News: On March 8, local time, the United Kingdom announced that it will gradually stop imports of Russian oil and petroleum products by the end of 2022, and consider banning the import of Russian natural gas to further strengthen sanctions against Russia.

  UK business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said there was plenty of time for UK markets, businesses and supply chains to replace Russian supplies.

He urged businesses to use the rest of the year to ensure a smooth transition, and said the government would set up a task force to work with companies to find alternative supplies.

  Russia is the UK's third-largest source of crude oil imports.

Kovaten said on social media Twitter that imports of oil and natural gas from Russia meet 8% and 4% of the UK's needs, respectively.

  Kovaten said he was exploring options to end imports of Russian gas.

  British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said earlier that Britain would "gradually" wean itself off its dependence on Russian oil and gas.

He called on Western nations to work together to secure energy alternatives, noting that the UK was considering using more of its own fossil fuels.

  A Bloomberg analysis pointed out that the ban on Russian oil imports will put further upward pressure on energy prices in the United Kingdom, which is already facing a cost of living crisis due to soaring inflation and tax burdens, the highest level since the 1950s.

  Also on the 8th local time, the European Commission announced plans to reduce the EU’s dependence on Russian natural gas by two-thirds this year and end its dependence on Russian fuel supplies “by 2030.”

On the same day, the United States also announced a ban on all imports of Russian oil.

  Russia is the second largest crude oil exporter after Saudi Arabia, exporting 4 million to 5 million barrels per day of crude oil and 2 million to 3 million barrels of refined oil.

With demand already above pre-coronavirus levels and fears of limited or disrupted supplies from Russia, there is growing concern that oil prices will continue to soar.