Kremlin’s blood diamonds on the EU sanctions list – by Michał Kacewicz ( – January 20, 2024)

Diamonds have always been a crucial source of income for Russia, the world’s largest producer. Following two years of war, the EU has finally imposed sanctions on Russian diamonds and related businesses. The European Union has recently introduced the twelfth round of sanctions against Russia in response to its full-scale aggression towards Ukraine.

The sanctions were approved in December and came into effect at the beginning of this year. As part of this strategy, non-industrial diamonds mainly used to make jewelry and mined and processed in Russia cannot be imported into the EU. The ban applies to Alrosa, the leading Russian diamond producer and exporter. The Director of Alrosa, Pavel Marinychev, has been blacklisted and banned from entering EU countries.

Additionally, his assets in Europe will be frozen. It took Europe quite some time to take action against the Russian diamond industry, while the US had already imposed similar sanctions two months after the aggression against Ukraine.

Although the USA is a significant market for diamond jewelry, the primary global hub for the diamond trade is Antwerp, Belgium. Around 50% of the world’s polished diamonds and 80% of its rough diamonds are sold and bought in this city. Belgium was lobbying the EU to lift diamond sanctions on Russia, but those efforts were unsuccessful.

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