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EU adds Russia's biggest diamond-mining company and CEO to sanctions list

The EU added Russia's largest diamond mining company to its sanctions list on Wednesday, 3 January 2024
The EU added Russia's largest diamond mining company to its sanctions list on Wednesday, 3 January 2024 Copyright Bebeto Matthews/Copyright 2022 The AP. All rights reserved.
Copyright Bebeto Matthews/Copyright 2022 The AP. All rights reserved.
By Mared Gwyn Jones
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The European Union on Wednesday added Russian company PJSC Alrosa, the world's biggest diamond producer, and its CEO Pavel Alekseevich Marinychev to its sanctions list.

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PJSC Alrosa, which is owned by the Russian state, accounts for over 90% of all Russian diamond production, representing a highly valuable revenue stream for the Kremlin.

The EU said Wednesday that Alrosa and its CEO Marinychev had been added to the list of sanctioned persons and entities for "actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine."

"The company constitutes an important part of an economic sector that is providing substantial revenue to the government of the Russian Federation," it added.

Around 1950 companies and individuals have now been slapped with EU sanctions since Russia moved its troops into Ukraine in February 2022.

The inclusion of Alrosa on the sanctions list follows a decision taken by the European bloc in December to ban the import, purchase or transfer of natural and synthetic diamonds from Russia. The ban was part of the bloc's long-awaited 12th package of sanctions against Moscow since its invasion of Ukraine.

The import ban is due to come into effect on 1 March, covering diamonds and jewellery originating from Russia initially, and extending to lab-grown diamonds and watches containing diamonds from 1 September.

The ban is part of a broader effort coordinated by the G7 countries to further choke the Russian state's revenue in a bid to hamper its war efforts in Ukraine.

The move comes after Russia stepped up its strikes on Ukrainian cities over the new year period.

On Tuesday, Kyiv and Kharkiv became the targets of a new wave of deadly missile and drone attacks. Ukrainian officials said at least five civilians had been killed.

It followed Ukrainian air attack on the Russian city of Belgorod, which Russian President Vladimir Putin vowed would not go unpunished. 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy responded to the heavy bombardments on Tuesday promising that Russia "will answer" for the lives lost.

EU leaders have also reacted harshly to the wave of fresh attacks. The bloc's top diplomat Josep Borrell said Tuesday on social media platform X that "Russia will be held to account for its war crimes."

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