On June 26, 2022, at the G7 Summit in Germany, the UK, US, Japan and Canada proclaimed that they will ban the import of Russian gold, the country’s largest non-energy export. The comprehensive sanctions package was announced by the UK Government as a demonstration of international unity and resolve against Putin’s war in Ukraine. The UK reports that gold is a major export that was worth £12.6 billion to the Russian economy in 2021, which the Russian elite have increasingly purchased in recent months in an effort to avoid the financial impact of western sanctions. The UK reports that London has been a major international trading hub for gold, and UK sanctions, along with parallel sanctions imposed by US, Japan and Canada, will be instrumental in shutting the commodity out of the global market and have a huge impact on Putin’s ability to raise funds. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson also urged other G7 leaders to join him by imposing similar sanctions that would further isolate Russia from the international financial system.
The UK’s ban on the import of Russian gold builds upon actions taken by the London Bullion Market to suspend six Russian refineries on March 7, 2022. The UK also emphasizes that the ban will apply only to newly mined or refined gold from Russia and will not impact Russian-origin gold that has been legitimately imported or purchased before the ban is in place.