European Union countries will start discussing next week a proposal for a 12th package of sanctions on Russia that will focus on banning Russian diamonds, EU diplomats and an EU official told Reuters.
Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, EU countries have already implemented 11 sanctions packages against Moscow to reduce the Kremlin’s ability to finance the war. The measures cover all sectors and involve approximately 1,800 individuals and entities.
So far, however, the EU has not imposed sanctions on Russian state-owned diamond miner Alrosa, even though major Western jewelers are already boycotting stones coming from Russia.
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EU chief diplomat Josep Borrell told the Financial Times on Wednesday that the bloc had been given the green light for diamonds by the G7 – the United States, Canada, Britain, Japan, France, Germany and Italy – at a meeting of G7 foreign ministers in Japan.
EU diplomats said the 27-nation bloc was waiting for the green light from the G7 to move ahead with the diamond ban. An EU official said the current timing for a European Commission proposal for the package, which will then be discussed by the 27 EU governments, was “early next week”.
“The plan is for the Commission to approve the package in the next few days. Then it will be up to the Council to approve it,” an EU official told Reuters, adding that intergovernmental talks would start next week.
The G7 has been discussing various proposals since September on how best to track Russian gems in order to block imports. A formal G7 announcement, expected since last month, has been delayed by a debate over whether to make a political announcement before the technical details are fully hashed out.
The proposal, drawn up by Belgium at the EU’s request, is expected to closely mirror the Commission’s draft sanctions proposal, one of the diplomats said.
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Poland pushed for bans on diamonds and liquefied gas in a September pitch, while Estonia called for liquefied natural gas (LNG) to be included, although there is little appetite in the EU for new waves in the volatile natural gas market.
Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the bloc would consider banning Russian diamonds, freezing assets and imposing travel restrictions on 100 new people and tightening the G7’s $60-a-barrel price ceiling Russian oil.