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EU to unveil new Russia sanctions – Borrell

They will include new export bans and restrictions on Russian diamonds, according to the bloc’s foreign policy chief

Brussels is finalizing the “last details” of the 12th package of Ukraine-related restrictions against Moscow, foreign policy chief Josep Borrell told reporters after a meeting of EU foreign ministers on Monday.

According to Borrell, the package will be presented for the European Commission to approve on Wednesday. The proposed measures will include the long-debated ban on Russian diamond exports, he added.

This twelfth package will include… new export bans, among them… diamonds, actions to tighten the oil price cap, in order to decrease the revenue that Russia is getting from selling its oil – not to us but to others – [and] fighting against circumvention,” Borrell said.

If it receives the greenlight from the European Commission, the package will then go to the EU Council and will have to be approved unanimously by all 27 member states.

The potential ban on Russian diamonds has been discussed by Western nations for months now. While imports of rough diamonds from Russia were either banned or partially restricted by the US, UK, Canada, and New Zealand last year, most Western states have no legislation against them. The G7 and EU have been considering a sweeping ban that would restrict both direct purchases of diamonds from Russia and a tracing mechanism that would prevent indirect imports.

According to El Pais news outlet, a team of G7 experts will visit diamond trading hub Antwerp, Belgium this week to analyze traceability proposals. Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said several days ago that a ban on Russian diamonds was getting “closer.”

READ MORE: Russian diamonds leave G7 divided

Industry experts say that even if the diamond sanctions are approved at the EU level, they could take months to come into force. Belgium has said that it expects the mechanism to start working in the first quarter of 2024.

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