File photo: An employee stores newly casted ingots of 99.99 percent pure gold. Photograph:( Reuters )
Meanwhile, a senior US official said that the rest of the G7 will also join in with a formal unveiling of the sanction
To tighten sanctions screws on Moscow and cripple its war effort in Ukraine, the United States said Sunday (June 26) that the Group of Seven (G7) nations will ban imports of Russian gold. A formal announcement of the same is expected Tuesday when the leaders will hold their annual summit.
US President Joe Biden said on Twitter: "Together, the G7 will announce that we will ban the import of Russian gold, a major export that rakes in tens of billions of dollars for Russia."
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the ban on Russian gold will "directly hit Russian oligarchs and strike at the heart of Putin's war machine."
Johnson said: "Putin is squandering his dwindling resources on this pointless and barbaric war. He is bankrolling his ego at the expense of both the Ukrainian and Russian people. We need to starve the Putin regime of its funding."
It is learnt that the measure was initially flagged by Britain as joint action being taken along with fellow G7 members Canada, Japan and the United States.
Given London's central role in the international gold trade, "this measure will have global reach, shutting the commodity out of formal international markets," Britain said.
Meanwhile, a senior US official said that the rest of the G7 will also join in with a formal unveiling of the sanction. "You'll see that on Tuesday. This will be a G7 principal that is articulated," said the official, who spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity.
"Gold, after energy, is the second largest export for Russia and a source of significant revenue for (President Vladimir) Putin and Russia," the US official said.
Russia's economy is already under huge pressure from Western sanctions against banks, energy companies, airlines, high-tech and consumer goods.
Now, it is understood that the choking off of the gold market will have a significant impact. According to the White House, Russia accounted for about five per cent of all gold exports in 2020 and 90 per cent of Russia's output went to G7 countries.
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