G-7 leaders announce ban on Russian gold imports in latest Kremlin sanctions

Leaders of G-7 nations plan to announce a ban on gold imports from Russia – the latest in a series of sanctions the club hopes will further hit Russia’s economy over the invasion of Ukraine.

The group of world leaders will meet on the opening day of the summit on Sunday to discuss how to secure energy supplies and tackle inflation, with the aim of avoiding the fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to the global coalition that formed Moscow. tries to punish, splinters.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said a G-7 ban on Russian gold “will hit Russian oligarchs directly and hit the heart of Putin’s war machine”.

“Putin is wasting his dwindling resources on this senseless and barbaric war. He is financing his ego at the expense of both the Ukrainian and Russian people,” Johnson said. “We must starve the Putin regime of its funding.”

The value of gold exports to the Russian elite has increased since the start of the war as wealthy Russians try to evade Western sanctions.

It has been Russia’s largest export after energy in recent years, reaching nearly $19 billion (€18 billion) or about 5% of global gold exports in 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 US imported less than $1 million in 2020 and 2021.

The G-7 was to formally announce the ban on Russian gold on Tuesday, said President Joe Biden’s administration officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss details ahead of 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.

The leaders of France, Germany, Italy, the UK, the US, Canada, Japan and the European Union attending the summit want to form a united front in support of Ukraine as the conflict enters its fourth month.

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.

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.

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.

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.