The European Commission—the executive arm of the European Union—proposed on Wednesday to extend its sanctions against Russia to include a ban on Russian diamonds.
The move is part of the 12th round of measures against Moscow since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022. Due to come into effect in January, the latest sanctions are linked to the G-7, which is also discussing a ban on Russian diamonds.
Since last year, EU sanctions have included levies against Russian coal, gas, gold, vodka and caviar.
As of this past June, the EU has levied Russian sanctions against some 1,800 individuals and entities, including President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Affairs Minister Sergey Lavrov, the Wagner mercenary group and prominent businesspeople and oligarchs. Additionally, €300 billion, or more than $325 billion, from the Central Bank of Russia have been blocked in the EU and G-7 countries, while some €21.5 billion ($23.3 billion) worth of assets have been frozen in the EU.
But diamonds from Russia have continued to be used in jewelry, including engagement rings, all around the world.
The EU has been reluctant to ban the gems, largely because Belgium aims to protect the city of Antwerp, considered the diamond capital of the world where more than 80% of all rough diamonds worldwide are traded.
Before the Ukraine-Russia war began, more than half of all diamonds came from Russia.
A final decision on the diamond ban proposal is set to come from the EU’s 27 member nations in the coming weeks.