G7 nears move to sanction Russian diamonds

STORY: G7 leaders gathering in Japan for a weekend summit have a new round of Russian sanctions in mind.

The country’s lucrative metals exports could be one target.

Diamonds could be another.

A G7 official said there wouldn’t be a deal this weekend, but diamonds would be in the final summit communique.

The idea of restricting the trade was floated by Poland in April.

But any such move could be derailed by a complex debate within the EU.

Belgium - home to the world’s biggest diamond trading hub in Antwerp - is against a ban.

Other G7 nations are concerned that sanctions could just see the trade funnelled through countries like India instead.

Two sources in the group said the idea was to develop tracing technologies that would prevent that.

But that could take time.

Even so, European Council President Charles Michel says the EU will impose restrictions.

Britain doesn’t want to wait either.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is set to announce a ban on Russian diamonds, and metals including copper and nickel.

New measures will also target more individuals involved in the energy, metals and shipping trade.

Pressure for more action may ramp up over the weekend, when Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy is expected to fly in to the Hiroshima summit.

An official in Kyiv said it was “essential” he go there to defend the country’s interests.