US considers freezing Russia's gold reserves

AP , Wednesday 23 Mar 2022

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen was set to meet with US lawmakers Wednesday to discuss a possible freeze on Russian reserves of gold.

Russia holds roughly $130 billion in gold reserves, according to lawmakers. AFP

The move comes after several lawmakers introduced the Stop Russian GOLD Act, meant to target Russia's ability to sell its gold reserves to avoid the impact of sanctions.

Current sanctions on Russian elites, the country's Central Bank, President Vladimir Putin, and other measures do not impact Russia's gold stockpile, which Putin has been accumulating for several years.

Russia holds roughly $130 billion in gold reserves, according to lawmakers. The Bank of Russia announced on Feb. 28 that it would resume the purchase of gold on the domestic precious metals market.

The lawmakers' effort to impose stronger sanctions on the Russian Federation come as President Joe Biden and administration officials travel to Brussels and Warsaw this week with key allies to try to prevent Russia's war on Ukraine from spiraling into an even greater catastrophe.

``I look forward to speaking with Secretary Yellen about our bill and what additional steps Treasury can take to stand strong against Putin,'' said Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire. ``We cannot allow Putin to take advantage of a loophole that could help finance his unconscionable attack on Ukraine.''

The meeting between Yellen and lawmakers was originally reported by Axios.

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