The United Kingdom has taken a decisive step in response to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine by imposing new sanctions on Russia. In a bid to apply economic pressure and demonstrate solidarity with Ukraine, the UK government has announced a ban on the import of Russian diamonds into the country. Additionally, imports of Russian-origin copper, aluminum, and nickel will also be blocked, with the legislation set to be introduced later this year.
Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, emphasized the importance of standing firm against aggression, stating that the UK must show that “violence and coercion do not reap rewards.” These latest sanctions come ahead of the G7 summit in Hiroshima, where global leaders will gather to discuss pressing issues, including the conflict in Ukraine and economic security.
The ban on Russian diamond imports is expected to have a significant impact, as the Russian diamond industry recorded exports worth $4 billion (£3.2 billion) in 2021. This move underscores the UK’s commitment to holding Russia accountable for its actions and supporting Ukraine in its struggle for sovereignty.
Moreover, the UK government intends to target an additional 86 individuals and companies connected to President Vladimir Putin. These sanctions will specifically focus on those who are actively undermining the impact of existing measures. The UK government’s resolve to take strong action against those involved in destabilizing activities remains unwavering.
These new sanctions build upon a comprehensive regime already in place. Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the UK has implemented sanctions on over 1,500 individuals and entities and frozen assets totaling more than £18 billion. Last year, the UK joined the United States, Canada, and Japan in banning imports of Russian gold, effectively hampering Russia’s ability to finance its actions in Ukraine.
Downing Street highlighted that these measures have successfully immobilized more than 60% of President Putin’s war chest, equivalent to approximately £275 billion. The US and the European Union have also enacted similar sanctions against Russia, with US President Joe Biden previously announcing plans to ban Russian diamonds, seafood, and vodka.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak is currently attending the G7 summit in Hiroshima as the representative of the UK. Among the topics on the summit’s agenda are discussions surrounding the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and strategies for enhancing economic security. As part of the G7 gathering, Chancellor Sunak will join other world leaders in visiting the Hiroshima Peace Park, where the first nuclear bomb was detonated, underscoring the importance of peace and the tragic consequences of war.
During the summit, Chancellor Sunak is expected to emphasize the need for united action against autocratic regimes and defend the shared values of freedom, democracy, and tolerance. Additionally, he will meet with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is attending the G7 summit as a guest. Prime Minister Modi has taken a neutral stance on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, advocating for peaceful dialogue to resolve the conflict.
Chancellor Sunak noted positive steps from India regarding its position on the war, signaling growing alignment with the unified stance of the G7 against the threat posed by Russia. The prime minister stressed the significance of defending these shared values both in Ukraine and in the Indo-Pacific region, emphasizing the importance of maintaining international peace and stability in the face of global challenges.