Home Society UK moves to ban Russian diamonds, with EU under pressure to follow
UK moves to ban Russian diamonds, with EU under pressure to follow

UK moves to ban Russian diamonds, with EU under pressure to follow

by host

HIROSHIMA, Japan — The U.K.’s decision to impose a ban on Russian diamonds, announced overnight, piles immediate pressure on the EU to follow suit, as G7 leaders gathering in Japan consider new sanctions against Moscow.

In announcing the move, the U.K. government said in a statement that it would “legislate later this year to ban imports of Russian diamonds, and end all imports of Russian-origin copper, aluminium and nickel, building on existing bans of Russian iron and steel.”

The EU has so far failed to sanction diamonds from Russia — which are playing a part in financing President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine — amid concerns an embargo would hit the Belgian city of Antwerp, which is a major international diamond trading hub.

“Russian diamonds are not forever,” European Council President Charles Michel said Friday at a press conference in Hiroshima, the host city of the G7 summit. “We will restrict trade in Russian diamonds,” he added — without specifying when.

Asked if Belgium — the country where Michel was previously prime minister — will come around on measures against Russian diamonds, the Council chief said: “I don’t intend to speak on behalf of the Belgian government.” He added: “I’m confident the current approach is to restrict Russian diamonds. This is what we are working on, together with partners.” 

The EU’s paralysis on Russian diamonds comes amid London’s move, announced just hours before the G7 summit kicked off.

“We’ve taken the lead on announcing new sanctions on Russia. I’m hopeful and confident that our partner countries will follow,” Sunak told the BBC on Friday. “That will make the sanctions more effective [and] ensure that Russia pays a price for its illegal activity.”

But the government conceded that direct imports of Russian diamonds to the U.K. are low, according to PA, since Britain had already sanctioned state-owned mining firm Alrosa a year ago.

An EU official said work was ongoing on new technology that should enable authorities to track the precious gems around the world.

Speaking on condition of anonymity as member countries were still discussing the issue, the official added there would also be negotiations with third countries, such as India, which polishes the vast majority of the world’s raw gems.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is due to arrive in Hiroshima later Friday.

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