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Belgian PM: Russian diamond ban almost finalized

by Elsa Court October 11, 2023 6:07 PM 2 min read
A large cut diamond on a workbench in the manual polishing unit at the Antwerp World Diamond Center in Antwerp, Belgium, on Oct. 4, 2022. (Valeria Mongelli/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
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Belgium, together with the European Union and Group of 7 (G7) countries, is "very close to finalizing" a system that will ban Russian diamonds from the market, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander de Croo announced on Oct. 11.

Russian diamonds are currently not sanctioned by Western countries.

De Croo said that a "full traceability system" is being developed, which will mean that "Russian blood diamonds will not be able to finance the war."

Speaking in Brussels at a joint press conference with President Volodymyr Zelensky, who is in the city for a meeting with NATO defense ministers, de Croo said the goal for the start of the ban is  Jan. 1, 2024.

The aim is "to cut off Russian dominance completely from our retail markets," de Croo said.

The Belgian government has taken the initiative to sanction Russian diamonds, as its second-largest city, Antwerp, is one of the world's centers of diamond trade.

Over 80% of the world's rough diamonds pass through the port city.

In September, de Croo met with the heads of the jewelry industry at the Belgian Consul General in New York and discussed a global tracking system that would make information about the origin of a diamond more transparent.

"Russian diamonds have become a symbol of war and human rights violations," he said at the meeting.

In his address to the Belgian parliament in March 2022, Zelensky criticized the country's ongoing diamond trade with Russia.

"Peace is more valuable than diamonds," he told the parliament.

That diamond ring? It may have helped pay for Russia’s war
Editor’s note: This story uses sources who are speaking on condition of anonymity since revealing their identities would heavily damage their careers and expose them to legal and personal risks in the diamond industry. Their identities are known to the Kyiv Independent. Top findings: * Despite th…
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