EU added a Russian diamond mining giant and its CEO to sanctions list

On January 3, the EU Council added Russian diamond mining giant Alrosa and its CEO Pavel Marinichev to the sanctions list.

This was announced on the European Council’s official website.

Alrosa, the EU Council explained, is the largest diamond mining company in the world, owned by the Russian state and accounting for more than 90% of all Russian diamond production.

PJSC Alrosa is the largest diamond-mining company in the worldowned by the Russian state and accounts for over 90% of all Russian diamond production, and the company constitutes an important part of an economic sector that is providing substantial revenue to the government of the Russian Federation.

EU Council’s statement

The company is an important part of the economic sector that provides significant revenues to the government of the Russian Federation.

This decision complements the ban on imports of Russian diamonds included in the 12th package of EU economic and individual sanctions adopted on December 18, 2023, in connection with Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine.

The ban on Russian diamonds is part of the G7’s efforts to deprive Russia of an important source of revenue from the diamond trade.

In total, EU restrictive measures against actions that undermine or threaten the territorial integrity, sovereignty, and independence of Ukraine are currently applied to nearly 1,950 individuals and legal entities.

EU’s ban on Russian diamond imports came into effect on Jan. 1

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 has been enacted. 

From March 1 to September 1, 2024, the EU 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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