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US and Europe target Russian gold in latest round of sanctions

Belgium Russia Ukraine War Summit
Posted at 7:59 AM, Mar 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-24 11:00:53-04

BRUSSELS — The U.S. and Europe announced they are restricting the Russian Central Bank’s use of gold in transactions.

Previously, sanctions against Russian elites, the country’s Central Bank and President Vladimir Putin did not impact Russia’s gold stockpile, which Putin has been accumulating for several years. Russia holds roughly $130 billion in gold reserves, and the Bank of Russia announced Feb. 28 that it would resume the purchase of gold on the domestic precious metals market.

White House officials said Thursday the move will further blunt Russia’s ability to use its international reserves to prop up Russia’s economy and fund its war against Ukraine.

Meanwhile, the Biden administration announced more sanctions targeting 48 state-owned defense companies, 328 members of the Duma, Russia’s lower parliament, and dozens of Russian elites. The Duma as an entity was also named in the new sanctions.

"Our sanctions on Russia are unprecedented — in no other circumstance have we moved so swiftly and in such a coordinated fashion to impose devastating costs on any other country," the White House said in a statement.

The G-7 and the European Union also announced a new effort to share information and coordinate responses to prevent Russia from evading the impact of sanctions that western nations have levied since the Feb. 24 invasion.

"As part of this effort, we will also engage other governments on adopting sanctions similar to those already imposed by the G7 and other partners," the White House said.