Will 12th EU sanctions package against Russia include diamonds?

In October, the European Union member states may begin discussing a new, twelfth package of sanctions against Russia over its full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

As reported by Bloomberg, the new draft sanctions may include previously announced restrictions on the trade of Russian diamonds, which the G7 states plan to introduce.

They also suggest that the EU will finally try to approve a proposal to use the frozen assets of the Russian central bank to help rebuild Ukraine after the war.

In addition, some EU members – primarily Poland and the Baltic states – want to tighten sanctions against Russian liquefied natural gas and IT services and impose restrictions on Russia’s nuclear sector. However, the latter proposal has little support among other states.

The new package of sanctions, Bloomberg’s sources add, will also include further steps to combat Russia’s circumvention of EU sanctions through third countries such as the United Arab Emirates and Turkey.

According to the agency, a new package of sanctions could be adopted in the first half of October or announced during the EU-US summit scheduled for the same month, but without a specific date.

The trade of Russian diamonds in the EU has already fallen due to voluntary commitments. However, the EU has not yet imposed official restrictions on Russian diamonds, partly due to Belgian resistance.

Russia is the world’s largest diamond producer. The gem trade is an important industry and a significant source of revenue for the Russian Federation.

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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