Four G7 powers are set to impose a ban on Russian gold exports in a bid to prevent oligarchs from purchasing the precious metal to avoid the impact of Western sanctions.

The move, announced by Britain and agreed to by the US, Canada, and Japan, will directly hit Russian oligarchs and strike at the heart of [President Vladimir] Putin’s war machine,” UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Saturday, ahead of Sunday’s G7 meet in Germany.

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Johnson added that given the UK’s central role in the global gold trade, coupled with parallel and simultaneous action by the US, Canada, and Japan, “this measure will have global reach, shutting the commodity out of formal international markets.”

The move comes at a time when wave after wave of Western sanctions after the Russian invasion of Ukraine have left the Russian economy under considerable pressure.

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With sanctions hitting the purses of individuals and institutions in Russia, the country’s wealthiest have turned to the purchase of gold in a bid to avoid the impact of sanctions.

That being said, the new move by the four G7 powers is expected to pile further pressure on Russia: worth a whopping $15.5 billion in 2021, gold is an important export commodity for Moscow that has taken on even more importance given the economic reality facing the country.

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Further measures against Russia could also be potentially announced during Sunday’s G7 meeting in the Bavarian alps, where the world’s seven richest nations are slated to discuss the war in Ukraine and how to sustain backing for Kyiv as the conflict edges towards the six-month mark.

At the meeting G7 leaders are expected to take stock of how extant sanctions have impacted the Russian economy, discuss further financial and military aid for war-torn Ukraine, and create a roadmap for post-war reconstruction of the eastern European country.