Switzerland will ban the import of diamonds mined in Russia, a government official said on Wednesday, joining the EU, the UK and other G7 nations in sanctions against the precious stone.
The announcement comes after Bern, which is not currently an EU member, agreed to adopt the 12th round of sanctions implemented by the EU in December as the bloc looks to further strangle Moscow’s income in response to its ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
Measures from the new sanctions package came into effect on Thursday. The government said in a statement: “Among the new measures is a phased ban on the purchase and import of Russian diamonds.
“Switzerland thus joins the measures agreed at the G7 summit on 6 December 2023 to deprive Russia of this important revenue stream. The authorities responsible for implementing these measures in Switzerland will work with the relevant sectors to ensure that the new restrictions are coordinated internationally and implemented efficiently.”
It added that the adoption of sanctions is a “reaction to Russia’s ongoing destabilising actions that undermine the territorial integrity, sovereignty and security of Ukraine”.
Import bans are also being introduced on other goods that generate revenue for Russia, including pig iron and liquid petroleum gas.
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In May, the UK, also no longer part of the EU, announced a sanctions package that included a ban on imports of Russian diamonds. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said at the time that he wants to ensure “Russia pays a price” for its invasion of Ukraine. “We believe in democracy, freedom, the rule of law – and it is right that we stand up for those things,” he added.
Russia’s diamond industry was worth approximately $4bn (Rbs363.78bn) in exports in 2021. According to analysis from Mining Technology’s parent company, GlobalData, Russia is the world’s largest producer of diamonds with an output of 35,958 carats for 2022, down 8.08% from 2021.