Ban on Russian diamond imports to the EU came into effect

As part of the 12th package of sanctions against Russia, the restriction on trade in diamonds originating from the Russian Federation took effect on Monday, January 1.

A ban on the direct or indirect import, purchase, or transfer of diamonds from Russia is among the measures enacted. The ban, which was previously agreed upon at the Group of Seven level, took effect on January 1, 2024.

Restrictions on Russian diamonds processed in third countries

From March 1 to September 1, 2024, we will implement restrictions on Russian diamonds processed in third countries.

The export of diamonds and polished diamonds brings the Kremlin 4 billion euros a year, according to estimates.

On December 18, the Council of the European Union finalized the 12th package of sanctions against Russia.

Furthermore, the Group of Seven countries stated their intention to impose limitations on Russian-made diamonds by January 1, 2024, following a virtual conference on December 6.

The Group of Seven countries, which are the biggest importers of rough diamonds, will set up a framework for rough diamond verification and certification by September 1, 2024, and will communicate with producing countries and partners on this subject, the leaders noted.

Russian diamond production

Russia is the world’s largest diamond producer. Trade in precious stones is an important industry and a significant source of income for the Russian Federation.

Sanctions and embargoes imposed by the West are intended to deplete Vladimir Putin’s war chest finally. However, diamond exports from Russia was not impacted till the end of 2023. Belgium was the main opposition because it wanted to defend its industry. 

According to US Treasury Department in Washington, Alrosa allegedly assisted Putin in financing his war. The Yakutia region and the Russian state control 66% of the group. Its owner was among the first oligarchs to receive US sanctions because the US views him as a close ally of Putin.

Russian diamond company Alrosa’s ties to the Kremlin

The Russian state-owned company Alrosa mines diamond far in eastern Russia, between the forests and glaciers of the Siberian region of Yakutia, and sells them to Europe even though Putin’s war against Ukraine has almost been ongoing for over a year and a half. 

Alrosa’s ties to the Kremlin are undeniable. It is said that 30 years ago, the group financed the B-871 Alrosa diesel-electric submarine for the Russian Navy. It has been modernized several times and equipped with cruise missiles; it is still in service with the fleet. The fact that Europe bans coal, oil, and steel from Russia but not jewellery seems even harder to understand.

Russian propaganda news outlet Tass claimed that the Alrosa submarine had completed an eight-year overhaul that included equipping it with Kalibr cruise missiles. The same cruise missiles are striking Ukrainian cities, killing innocent civilians, and destroying energy infrastructure.

Read also: Russian diamonds continue entering EU market, will they be added to sanctions list?

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