The UK, US, Canada and Japan will ban imports of Russian gold in new sanctions imposed in response to the invasion of Ukraine, Downing Street announced on Sunday on the first day of a G7 summit.
"These measures will directly hit the Russian oligarchs and attack the heart of Putin's war machine," said British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is meeting the leaders of the major industrialized powers in Germany for three days.
“Putin is wasting his dwindling resources on this useless and barbaric war. He feeds his ego at the expense of the Ukrainian and Russian people,” he added, quoted in a statement.
“We have to dry up funding for the Putin regime. That's what we do with our allies."
Russia is a major gold-producing country whose exports accounted for nearly 15 billion euros in 2021, according to Downing Street.
Banning gold from the London markets, an important financial center for commodity trading, will therefore have "a huge impact on Putin's ability to raise funds", insisted the British government.
This will particularly hit Russian elites who may have been buying gold “in an attempt to circumvent Western sanctions,” he added.
However, these measures only concern newly mined gold in Russia and not gold acquired before the embargo was put in place.
The UK has imposed among the toughest Western sanctions against Russia since it began an invasion of Ukraine four months ago, targeting the financial sector, oil, dozens of oligarchs, representing in total more than 100 entities and 1,000 people.
The leaders of the G7 (France, United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Canada and Japan) meet from Sunday in southern Germany for a three-day summit, followed by a meeting of the countries of NATO in Madrid.