Biden: G-7 Bans Russian Gold in Response to Ukraine War

ELMAU, Germany — President Joe Biden said on Sunday that the United States and other leading economies of the Group of Seven will ban gold imports from Russia, the latest in a series of sanctions the club of democracies hopes will further isolate Russia economically over the invasion of Ukraine. .

A formal announcement was expected Tuesday as the leaders meet for their annual summit.

Biden and his colleagues will meet on the opening day of the summit on Sunday to discuss ways to secure energy supplies and tackle inflation, with the aim of preventing the fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine from damaging the global coalition that Moscow tries to punish, splinters.

Hours before the summit was set to begin, Russia launched rocket attacks on the Ukrainian capital on Sunday, hitting at least two residential buildings, Kiev mayor Vitali Klitschko said. It was the first such strike by Russia in three weeks.

Biden senior officials said gold is Moscow’s second-largest export after energy. Banning imports would make it harder for Russia to participate in global markets, they said.

Biden’s Twitter feed said Russia is raking in “tens of billions of dollars” from the sale of its gold.

In recent years, gold has been Russia’s most important export after energy — reaching nearly $19 billion or about 5% of global gold exports by 2020, according to the White House.

90% of Russian gold exports went to the G-7 countries. Of these Russian exports, more than 90%, or nearly $17 billion, was exported to the UK. The United States imported less than $200 million worth of gold from Russia in 2019 and less than $1 million in 2020 and 2021.

The UK was also set to announce on Sunday that it will ban imports of Russian gold, followed by a formal announcement Tuesday involving all G-7 countries, according to Biden government officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity to provide details. discuss before the announcement.

Biden arrived in the picturesque Bavarian Alps early Sunday morning to join his colleagues at the annual meeting of the world’s leading democratic economies, where the reverberations of Ukraine’s brutal war will be at the center of the discussion. He and the allies aim to form a united front in support of Ukraine as the conflict enters its fourth month.

Biden attended mass celebrated by a US military priest, the White House said. The President opened the visit by meeting the summit’s host, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, before spending the afternoon in both formal and informal settings with the leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the European Union.

John Kirby, spokesman for the White House National Security Council, said on Saturday that the summit will address issues such as inflation and other “challenges in the global economy posed by Putin’s war — but also how to hold Mr. Putin accountable” and subject to “constant consequences”.

“There will be some muscle movements,” Air Force One’s Kirby said as Biden flew to Germany.

Among the topics to be discussed are energy price caps intended to limit Russian oil and gas profits that Moscow can use in its war effort. The idea was championed by US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.

A senior German official, speaking on condition of anonymity in accordance with department rules, said the US idea of ​​price caps was discussed intensively, in terms of exactly how it would work and how it would fit in with the US, EU, UK, Canadian and Japanese sanctions regimes.

Officials would also discuss how to deliver on commitments to address climate change while solving critical energy needs arising from the war.

“There’s no dilution of climate commitments,” Kirby said.

Biden will also formally launch on Sunday a global infrastructure partnership aimed at countering China’s influence in the developing world, which he had dubbed “Build Back Better World” and introduced at last year’s G-7 summit.

Kirby said Biden and other leaders would announce the first projects to take advantage of what the US sees as an “alternative to infrastructure models that sell debt traps to low- and middle-income partner countries, and promote US economic competitiveness and our national security.”

After Germany shuts down on Tuesday, Biden will travel to Madrid to meet with leaders of NATO’s 30 members to align strategy for the war in Ukraine.

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