Biden orders UK to ban Russian gold… but theres a reason Boris will find it tricky

Johnson urges G7 allies to stand firm in support of Ukraine

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The US President announced the plan to ban imports of Russian gold during the G7 Summit in Germany. Writing on Twitter, Mr Biden said: “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.”

While the UK has agreed to the ban, saying it will “strike at the heart of Putin’s war machine”, it may find it difficult to implement.

London is a major global trading hub for gold, with the country exporting £12.6bn ($15.4bn) worth of gold to Russia in 2021.

The importance of gold exports has only increased since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, as oligarchs rushed to buy bullion in order to avoid sanctions.

But responding to Mr Biden’s pledge to ban hold, Mr Johnson said: “The measures we have announced today will directly hit Russian oligarchs and strike at the heart of Putin’s war machine.

“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.

“The UK and our allies are doing just that.”

The ban, which will come into force shortly, will apply to newly mined or refined gold.

It does not impact Russian-origin gold previously exported from Russia.

There are no plans to extend restrictions to Russian gold purchased legitimately before the import ban was put in place.

Canada and Japan have also agreed to the ban.

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The EU, however, was cautious about agreeing to the new measures.

European Council President Charles Michel said: “On gold, we are ready to go more into the details and to look if it’s possible to target gold in a manner that would target the Russian economy and not in a manner that would target ourselves.”

The ban was announced as G7 leaders met in the German Alps for a three-day G7 Summit.

Western allies have so far imposed six rounds of crippling sanctions on Russia, in response to its invasion of Ukraine.

The UK has so far sanctioned more than 1,000 individuals and more than 100 entities, the Government said.

Meanwhile, as a result of the latest ban on gold, import restrictions in the UK now apply to more than £13.5 billion worth of Russian exports.

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