In a bold move, the European Commission is set to implement a comprehensive 12th round of sanctions against Moscow, demonstrating a resolute stance against Russia’s actions. This proposed set of measures, yet to be approved by EU leaders in their upcoming summit in December, encompasses a multifaceted approach aimed at exerting pressure on Russia, both economically and diplomatically.
Targeting Key Individuals
Among the 47 individuals proposed for inclusion in existing sanctions lists, notable figures include Anna Tsivileva, Putin’s cousin and chair of the “defenders of the fatherland” foundation supporting Russian soldiers in Ukraine. A particularly striking addition is Ilya Medvedev, allegedly involved in orchestrating a disinformation and propaganda campaign in Ukraine and identified as the son of former president Dmitry Medvedev.
Economic Strangulation: The Diamond Ban
At the core of these sanctions is a strategic move to choke off Russia’s commercial revenues. The proposal includes a groundbreaking total ban on the sale of Russian rough diamonds and jewelry incorporating gems from Siberian mines within the EU. This daring step, estimated to deprive Russia of over €4.5 billion (£3.8 billion) annually, has been a long-anticipated measure that gained traction after Belgium’s removal of objections and the G7’s unanimous support during a summit in Japan.
Blockchain Innovation in Diamond Trade
Belgium proposes a revolutionary blockchain-based traceability system for diamonds, aiming to uniquely identify stones over a certain size. This system, expected to cover between 80% and 90% of global diamonds, would allow wholesalers and retailers to distinguish between legal and illegal diamonds. The international community, represented by G7 countries, is currently assessing the practicality and efficacy of this proposed ban during a three-day visit to Antwerp.
Strengthening Existing Measures
In addition to the diamond ban, the European Commission is advocating for new prohibitions, such as restricting the sale of secondhand tankers. This move is designed to counteract attempts to circumvent existing trade sanctions by concealing the origin or destination of cargo, including oil with price-capped rates, through rogue ship-to-ship transfers.
Broad Sectoral Sanctions
The proposed measures extend beyond individuals, encompassing various sectors in Russia. Targets include companies in the arms industry, IT firms linked to the FSB security services, elections officials operating in occupied Ukraine, and private military entities akin to the Wagner organization. Additionally, companies in the civilian sector accused of enabling the Russian war machine, like AlfaStrakhovanie, the largest private insurance company in Russia, and the Ilyushin Aviation Complex, a leading aircraft manufacturer, face stringent sanctions.
As the European Commission charts a course for the 12th round of sanctions against Russia, the proposed measures signal a robust response to Russia’s actions. If approved, these sanctions promise to significantly impact Russia’s economic landscape while introducing innovative strategies, such as the blockchain-based diamond traceability system, to ensure the effectiveness of the ban. The international community is poised to closely monitor the developments during the upcoming EU leaders’ summit, with the potential for far-reaching consequences on the geopolitical stage.