Russia will bypass ‘predictable’ EU diamond sanctions – Kremlin

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Russia will bypass EU restrictions on the export of the country’s diamonds, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists on Tuesday.

Responding to questions related to the latest package of the bloc’s sanctions against Moscow, Peskov insisted that the ban will not work.

“It [the diamond ban] was predictable, we were preparing for it,” the official stated. “There are ways to circumvent these sanctions, and they will be realized.”

On Monday, the European Council (EC) announced that the bloc had finally approved a ban on the direct or indirect import, purchase, or transfer of diamonds from Russia, saying that it would come into effect on January 1. The embargo, which applies to non-industrial natural and synthetic diamonds, as well as diamond jewelry, was featured in the twelfth package of EU economic sanctions against Moscow.

The diamond ban will be done in coordination with the Group of Seven countries (G7), which announced a similar measure earlier this month.

The latest package – which is mostly focused on combating sanctions circumvention and closing loopholes – also targets EU assets owned by the enterprises of the Russian military and defense sector.

Peskov highlighted that freezing assets was not a major problem, since they do not exist.

The Kremlin spokesman added that the fresh batch of EU sanctions indicates that the bloc’s ability to put pressure on Russia has been exhausted.

The extended penalties includes an import ban on liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) with a one-year transition period, as well as a list of metal products, including pig iron and spiegeleisen, copper, and aluminum wires, foil, tubes and pipes for a total value of €2.2 billion ($2.40 billion) a year.

Brussels also added 140 additional individuals and entities as subject to asset freezes, including actors in the Russian IT sector, as well as private military companies and even deceased individuals.

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