In an effort to limit Moscow’s capacity to finance the conflict in Ukraine, Britain unveiled additional sanctions against Russia on Friday that target imports of diamonds and other minerals.
Before the G7 summit in Japan, London declared it would impose “a ban on Russian diamonds,” as well as sanctions against more companies involved in Moscow’s “military industrial complex” and a restriction on copper, aluminum, and nickel.
The estimated $4–$5 billion annual value of Russia’s diamond trade provides the Kremlin with much-needed tax income.
The assets of 86 individuals and organizations would be frozen as a result of the new sanctions, the UK foreign office announced later in the day.
These include “companies connected to theft of Ukrainian grain, and those involved in shipment of Russian energy”, it said.
The new sanctions will also target “advanced military technology and remaining revenue sources”.
The summit in Hiroshima is expected to bring a series of new sanctions on Russia — including US measures that will put 70 more Russian and foreign entities on a trade blacklist.
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak told Sky News on Friday that his “straightforward” message for Russian President Vladimir Putin was: “We’re not going away”.
“One of the topics of conversation I’ll be having and have been having with my fellow leaders is about the longer term security agreements… for Ukraine to deter future Russian aggression,” he added.
The G7 as a whole is anticipated to strive to strengthen current sanctions, plug loopholes, restrict Moscow’s access to the global financial system, and pledge to maintain blocked Russian assets until the end of the Ukrainian conflict.
Charles Michel, the president of the European Council, joked that the rich trade in Russian diamonds “are not forever” and pledged that the EU will target it.
Together with India and the United Arab Emirates, Belgium, a member of the EU, is one of the biggest wholesale purchasers of Russian diamonds.
The United States is a major end-market for the finished product.