The UK’s Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, has announced that a ban on imports of Russian diamond will be among a list of items put under new sanctions, as the country seeks to tighten restrictions on Russian trade. The announcement came at the G7 summit in Japan on Friday.
Sunak told the BBC he wants to ensure “Russia pays a price” for its invasion of Ukraine, adding that he is leading the way with new sanctions against Russia. “I am hopeful and confident that our partner countries will follow as they have done when we’ve done this previously… That will make the sanctions more effective, ensure that Russia pays a price for its illegal activity,” he said.
Russia’s diamond industry was worth approximately $4bn (£3.2bn) in exports in 2021. According to GlobalData analysis, Russia is the world’s largest producer of diamond, with an output of 35,958kct for 2022, although this was down 8.08% from 2021.
Copper, aluminium, and nickel imports originating from Russia are also on the list of banned items. The sanctions will become law later this year.
“We believe in democracy, freedom, the rule of law – and it is right that we stand up for those things,” Sunak said. The UK Government said that it plans to target sanctions against 86 more individuals and companies connected to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Since the invasion in February last year, the UK has targeted more than 1,500 individuals and companies and frozen more than $18bn worth of Russian-related assets.
US President Joe Biden announced in March last year that the country would ban imports of Russian diamonds, as well as seafood and Vodka originating from Russia. Last year, the UK, the US, Canada, and Japan banned imports of Russian gold to further limit Moscow’s income from the precious metals sector.
Earlier this week, G7 leaders and the EU agreed to ban Russian gas imports on routes where Russia has already cut supplies, the first such move since the invasion began, as global efforts to strangle Russia’s trade revenues tighten.