Russian diamonds ban: EU approved 12th package of sanctions against Russia

On December 18, the Council of the European Union finalized the process of adopting the twelfth package of sanctions against Russia. The EU Council said this in a statement.

The 12th package of sanctions includes a ban on the direct or indirect import, purchase, or transfer of diamonds from Russia. The G7 nations had previously agreed upon the ban, which will take effect on January 1, 2024.

From March 1 to September 1, 2024, the EU states will gradually enforce restrictions on Russian diamonds processed in third countries.

According to the sanctions package, it will also contractually prohibit EU exporters from re-exporting classified goods and technologies to Russia or using them in Russia when entering into agreements with third countries.

The 12th sanctions package also prohibited the export to Russia of chemicals, lithium batteries, thermostats, DC motors, and servo motors for drones, machine tools, and parts of machines and mechanisms.

The EU is introducing additional restrictions on imports of pig iron, copper wires, aluminum wires, foil, pipes, and rolled products worth 2.2 billion euros per year and banning imports of liquefied propane with a 12-month transition period. At the same time, periods of gradual reductions in imports of certain types of steel products continue.

The EU Council also exempted personal use items and cars with diplomatic license plates from the restrictions on imports from Russia, which previously allowed for confiscation at customs. EU countries may permit the entry of ordinary cars for personal use, provided that they are not for sale and are used exclusively for personal purposes.

A separate chapter of EU sanctions decisions in the 12th package is dedicated to the strengthening of existing restrictions.

The EU extends the ban on transit through Russia to all military goods and prohibits Russian citizens from owning, controlling, or holding any positions in the governing bodies of legal entities that provide cryptocurrency services to Russians. The current prohibition on the provision of services to Russian individuals also applies to the provision of enterprise management software and industrial design and manufacturing software.

Legal entities within the EU that are linked to a legal entity from Russia or a Russian citizen or individual residing in Russia must report the transfer of funds outside the EU as required by the EU.

The EU is strengthening its oil price ceiling enforcement, in particular to better identify vessels and entities that help Russia circumvent this restriction. EU companies that send tankers to third parties must report this to the EU.

In addition, according to the decision of the EU Council, Switzerland will join restrictive measures on imports of iron and steel from Russia and a set of import control measures that are practically equivalent to the EU measures.

The EU expanded the individual sanctions lists. The EU added 29 new entities that directly support Russia’s military-industrial complex, including those from third countries, as well as “a significant number of additional individuals and entities.”

Last week, the EU summit decision, published on December 14, stated that the EU “welcomes the adoption” of the 12th package of sanctions against Russia. However, later, it was revealed that Austria blocked the agreement because Ukraine had added the Austrian bank Raiffeisen to the list of international sponsors of war due to its activities in the Russian market.

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