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EU Agrees to Ban Russian Diamonds in New Sanctions Package

The European Union Council has adopted a 12th package of sanctions against Russia, the European Commission said in a statement on Monday, after Austria gave its final approval over the weekend.
Diamonds.
Alrosa diamonds account for almost 30 percent of all raw stones sold around the world. (Shutterstock)

The package focuses on a Russian-origin diamond import ban as well as imposing additional import and export bans on Russia, combating sanctions circumvention and closing loopholes, it said.

The ban on direct non-industrial diamond purchases from Russia will start on Jan. 1 followed by a phased ban on indirect imports to be completed by Sept. 1. The diamond ban will be done in coordination with the Group of Seven countries (G7), which announced a similar ban. The global natural diamond jewellery business is worth $87 billion.

Russian diamond producer Alrosa declined to comment on the 12th EU sanctions package.

In an effort to prevent Russia from maintaining its military hardware, the EU is introducing a “No Russia clause” that requires EU exporters to contractually prohibit re-exportation to, or for use in, Russia of a list of “sensitive goods and technology.”

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The package also tightens compliance rules for those buying Russian oil via the G7 price cap mechanism. However, EU countries watered down an initial proposal to ban the sale of old oil tankers to Russia or Russia-linked firms to a “notification” procedure.

The package includes a notification system for funds transferred outside the EU by a Russian national living in Russia or Russian entity established in the bloc.

The package also introduces a new import ban on liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) with a one-year transition period as well as a list of metal products, including “pig iron and spiegeleisen, copper and aluminium wires, foil, tubes and pipes for a total value of €2.2 billion ($2.40 billion) per year.”

The package also added 140 additional individuals and entities as subject to asset freezes, including actors in the Russian military and defence industry and IT sector as well as private military companies.

While the European Council announced the adoption of the package last week, Austria did not give its formal approval until its major bank Raiffeisen was suspended from a Ukrainian list dubbed “international sponsors of war.”

The Ukrainian blacklist temporarily removed the bank pending discussions with the European Commission. The Commission declined to comment on the matter on Monday.

Greece similarly delayed the previous package of sanctions in order to have the inclusion of some of its companies on the blacklist suspended. Two Greek shipping companies are still in the suspension phase on the website.

By Geert De Clercq and Julia Payne, Editing by Charlotte Van Campenhout, Alison Williams and Paul Simao

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Learn more:

What Will Sanctions Against Russian Diamonds Mean for Jewellery?

US sanctions prohibiting some business with Alrosa, the world’s biggest diamond miner, could quickly disrupt the global gem trade, experts say.

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