The Russian government plans to sell 25 tonnes of gold from the state precious metals and gems repository Gokhran, possibly on the local market, Interfax news agency quoted a Finance Ministry official as saying on Thursday.

Maybe we will not sell abroad, but how can we refrain from selling altogether, when there is a presidential decree and a sales plan approved by the government? it quoted Alexander Akhpolov, the head of the ministry's Administrative Department, as saying.

We plan to sell... some 25 tonnes.

Akhpolov could not be reached for comment.

The Russian government's agent for precious metals and gems Almazjuvelirexport (Almaz) said on Tuesday Russia had postponed its plans to sell up to 50 tonnes of gold this year, after information about the sales leaked.

Under a government order signed at the start of the year, Gokhran is allowed to sell precious metals worth 44.4 billion roubles ($1.52 billion) in 2009.

Analysts had initially been a little sceptical of the sale plans, which come at a time when the Russian central bank has been steadily increasing the share of gold -- seen as a safe haven in times of turmoil -- in its reserves.