At the centre of the proposals, which will still need to be approved by EU leaders at their next summit in December, are moves aimed at choking off Russia’s commercial revenues. These include a total ban on the sale within the bloc of Russian rough diamonds and jewellery using gems from the country’s Siberian mines.
This could remove more than €4.5bn (£3.8bn) a year from Kremlin coffers, the EU says.
A ban has been in the works since last year but only became a reality after Belgium, the home to the global diamond hub Antwerp, removed its objections in the summer and the G7 agreed to sanctions being imposed during a summit in Japan.
“The ban of Russian diamonds is part of a G7 effort to develop an international coordinated diamond ban that aims to deprive Russia of this important revenue source,” says the proposal by the commission, seen by the Guardian.
Representatives from G7 countries are now on a three-day visit to Antwerp to see how the suggested ban would work.
Under a proposal put forward by Belgium, all diamonds over a certain size, thought to be between 0.5 and one carat, will be given a unique identifier via a blockchain record showing their provenance.
Efforts to introduce the traceability system have been fraught with challenges, with large companies lobbying G7 countries to delay the move as recently as last month.
The European Commission is also proposing new prohibitions on the sale of secondhand tankers to crack down on those who are circumventing existing trade sanctions by concealing the origin or destination of cargo including price-capped oil, through rogue ship-to-ship transfers.
The proposed sanctions also target companies and organisations in a number of sectors in Russia, including the arms industry, IT companies with ties to the FSB security services, elections officials working in occupied Ukraine, private military companies similar to the Wagner organisation, and patriotic organisations, some of which are accused of the “militarisation … of Ukrainian children”.
The proposed sanctions also target companies in the civilian sector that are accused of enabling the Russian war machine. Among them is AlfaStrakhovanie, which bills itself as the largest private insurance company in Russia. The company was listed for providing insurance contracts to the Russian defence ministry and military industry companies, as well as military vehicles used by the Russian national guard in Ukraine.
Also targeted was the Ilyushin Aviation Complex, a leading aircraft manufacturer that produces the Il-76 military transport plane regularly used to transport Russian military personnel and equipment. It is among the most popular military aircraft in the world, according to the Russian government, and was in use in 24 countries as of 2021.
The developer and operator of Russia’s Glonass navigation system, a competitor to the US’s GPS navigation system, was also listed in the proposed sanctions.
A number of Belarusian officials were also included in the proposed sanctions for their alleged role in supplying arms to Russia or in other military cooperation, including the training of Russian army conscripts at bases in Belarus.