The European Union is preparing to impose new export bans and restrictions on Russian diamonds as part of its 12th package of Ukraine-related sanctions against Moscow. Josep Borrell, the bloc’s foreign policy chief, announced that the final details of the package are being worked out and will be presented for approval by the European Commission on Wednesday.
Borrell highlighted that the proposed measures will include a long-debated ban on Russian diamond exports, as well as actions to tighten the oil price cap in order to reduce Russia’s revenue from selling oil to other countries. He also mentioned that the package will include measures to combat circumvention.
Once the European Commission approves the package, it will then go to the EU Council for unanimous approval by all 27 member states. The potential ban on Russian diamonds has been a topic of discussion among Western nations for several months. While some countries, such as the US, UK, Canada, and New Zealand, have already banned or partially restricted imports of rough diamonds from Russia, most Western states do not have specific legislation targeting the trade of these precious stones.
Both the G7 and the EU have been considering a sweeping ban that would restrict direct purchases of diamonds from Russia and implement a tracing mechanism to prevent indirect imports. According to reports, a team of G7 experts will visit the diamond trading hub of Antwerp, Belgium to analyze traceability proposals. Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo has stated that a ban on Russian diamonds is drawing closer.
However, industry experts caution that even if the diamond sanctions are approved at the EU level, it could take months before they come into force. Belgium has indicated that it expects the mechanism to start working in the first quarter of 2024.
The potential sanctions on Russian diamonds come amidst the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and the EU’s efforts to support the country and exert pressure on Russia. The decision to pursue these measures reflects the EU’s commitment to upholding its foreign policy objectives and holding Russia accountable for its actions.
The broader context of the sanctions against Russia also includes restrictions on various sectors of its economy, such as finance, energy, and trade. These measures are part of a coordinated international effort to address Russia’s involvement in the conflict in Ukraine and to deter further aggression.
The EU’s stance on the issue is in line with the positions of other Western nations and reflects a unified approach to addressing the challenging geopolitical dynamics in Eastern Europe. As the situation continues to evolve, the EU remains committed to taking diplomatic, economic, and political actions to promote peace and stability in the region.
In conclusion, the proposed sanctions on Russian diamonds are part of a broader strategy to convey a strong message to Russia and demonstrate solidarity with Ukraine. The EU’s efforts to finalize and implement these measures underscore its determination to address the conflict in a comprehensive and coordinated manner.