Leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) countries agreed on Dec. 6 to impose a direct import ban on Russian diamonds starting January in a bid to stifle Moscow's revenue during its invasion of Ukraine.
Russia is the world's largest diamond producer and earned around $4 billion from the diamond trade last year, helping the country fuel its war against Kyiv.
The announcement comes after months of discussion on cutting Moscow off from this lucrative source of income. Earlier the same day, Canada announced that it is banning the direct import of Russian diamonds "in coordination with its G7 partners."
"Our commitment remains to restrict exports of all items critical to Russia's military and industrial base, including those used on the battlefield, and we call on third parties to take equivalent action," the G7's joint statement read.
"We will introduce import restrictions on non-industrial diamonds, mined, processed, or produced in Russia, by January 1, 2024, followed by further phased restrictions on the import of Russian diamonds processed in third countries targeting March 1, 2024."
To strengthen the measures, those G7 members who are major importers of rough diamonds pledge to develop a verification mechanism to monitor the internal trade by next September.
The G7 countries, including Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the U.S., and the U.K., represent 70% of the world's diamond market.
The ban on Russian diamond sales is reportedly also meant to be included in the EU's upcoming 12th sanctions package.
This measure is meant to target the full spectrum of the Russian diamond trade. If approved, it will take effect on Jan. 1.