The US, UK, Canada and Japan have placed sanctions on the import of Russian gold in an effort to eliminate revenue used to fund President Vladimir Putin’s war on Ukraine.
The four countries made the decision to ban Russia’s biggest non-energy export at the G7 summit in Germany on Sunday [June 26], the UK government said. The remaining G7 participants — France, Italy and Germany — will likely follow suit, US President Joe Biden implied in a tweet the same day.
“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,” President Biden wrote.
The ban, which is due to come into effect shortly, will apply to newly mined or refined gold but will not impact Russian-origin gold previously exported from Russia, the UK explained. The countries currently have no plans to extend the restrictions to Russian gold purchased legitimately prior to the import ban.
“The measures…will directly hit Russian oligarchs and strike at the heart of Putin’s war machine,” said UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. “We need to starve the Putin regime of its funding.”
Russia earned GBP 12.6 billion ($15.52 billion) from the export of gold last year, the UK government noted. London is a major gold-trading hub, and the sanctions will have a “huge impact” on Russia’s ability to fund the war.