As debate continues to swirl around future economic penalties expected to be implemented against Russia in response to the invasion of Ukraine, the impact of these sanctions has been dramatically undermined.
According to recent reporting, Russian diamond sales in Europe increased following the invasion of Ukraine, despite retaliatory economic pressure from the US, EU, and other western powers.
“The numbers — which have not yet been made public — reveal that following the February 2022 invasion of Ukraine, Russia sharply increased diamond exports to the EU (which includes Antwerp, Belgium) as well as to two allies, Armenia and Belarus. Exports to other countries dropped — and in some cases, like the US, they ceased entirely,” write Rob Bates of JCK Online.
“In the second quarter of 2022 (April through June), Russian rough diamond exports were $US1.11 billion, compared with $US1.01 billion in the first quarter of 2022, and $US1.09 billion in the second quarter of 2021. No data was available for the third and fourth quarters of 2022, though preliminary third-quarter numbers also show an increase.”
Per the report, the figures are sourced from the Kimberley Process. The US, Israel, Singapore, and Switzerland received no diamond exports from Russia in the second half of 2022.
Russia accounts for approximately one-third of the world’s supply of rough diamonds.
Sara Yood of the Jewelers Vigilance Committee said she fears for the reputation of the wider jewellery industry.
“It’s not a good sign for the international jewellery industry’s reputation and the greater cause of democracy in Ukraine,” she said.
“I’m glad to see some direct reflection of the impact of the US ban, but it just looks like those carats were sent elsewhere, including a significant bump to the EU. If I were the US and EU looking at this data, I would be very concerned and even more motivated to work on closing the substantial transformation workaround pipeline that is allowing Russian Federation diamonds to enter the US market.”
EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen recently confirmed plans to implement a new round of sanctions prior to the one-year anniversary of the invasion of Ukraine on 24 February.
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