The European Union has imposed sanctions on Russia’s state-run diamond giant Alrosa and its CEO as part of a ban on imports of the gemstones over the Ukraine war.
The EU in December agreed to prohibit diamonds exported from Russia as it tightened sanctions to further sap the Kremlin’s coffers.
On Wednesday, the 27-nation bloc added Alrosa, the world’s largest diamond mining company, and its chief executive Pavel Marinychev, to a blacklist subject to a visa ban and asset freeze in the EU.
The EU said the company, which accounts for 90 percent of Russia’s diamond production, “constitutes an important part of an economic sector that is providing substantial revenue to the government”.
Russia’s diamond exports totalled around $4 billion in 2022. Unprecedented sanctions
The EU’s ban went into force on January 1 on natural and synthetic diamonds exported from Russia.
A prohibition on Russian diamonds processed in third countries will be phased in by September.
The ban came after months of painstaking negotiations with G7 countries to set up a system to trace Russia diamonds.
Belgium, which is home to the world’s biggest diamond trading hub, insisted the system needed to be put in place to make any embargo effective.
The EU has so far imposed 12 rounds of unprecedented sanctions on Moscow since Russian President Vladimir Putin launched the all-out invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
But the Russian economy has so far managed to adapt to the sanctions and dislocations caused by the conflict.