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EU to hit Russian steel, IT industry with sanctions, but spare diamonds

The European Union is aiming to ban imports of several steel products from Russia and outlaw the export of certain semiconductors to Russia, according to the European Commission’s latest sanctions proposal, seen by POLITICO.

One item left off the list, however, is Russian diamonds — an omission that will make Belgium and its robust diamond industry happy. Instead, the Commission wants to bar the import of “certain elements used in the jewellery industry such as stones and precious metals.” It also wants to sanction Alrosa, Russia’s largest diamond mining firm.

The draft text, which the Commission presented to EU ambassadors Wednesday but still needs the sign-off of the 27 EU countries, mainly seeks to use a slate of new export and import bans to tighten the bloc’s existing sanctions regime. And the targets range from everyday items to tech components that power Russia’s military.

For example, the new draft rules would eliminate the import of goods considered to generate significant income in Russia, such as “beauty or make-up preparations,” “shaving preparations, incl. pre-shave and aftershave products, personal deodorants,” as well as soap and toilet paper.

On the export side, semiconductors components, or chips, won’t be allowed to be sent to Russia anymore. Aircraft exports to Russia would also be barred if the new sanctions package is adopted.

In the service industry, the sanctions proposal foresees making it illegal “to provide architectural and engineering services, legal advisory services and IT consultancy services” to companies and people in Russia or the Russian government.

Additionally, the bloc is set to sanction almost 30 individuals and eight companies, including right-wing philosopher and strategist Alexander Dugin and singer Nikolay Rastorguyev, as well as the largest shareholder of arms producer Kalashnikov, Alan Lushnikov.

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