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UK escalates sanctions against Russia, targeting metal and diamond imports

In a bid to starve Russia’s war machine, the UK is extending its export bans on dual-use items to Russia, in addition to banning certain metal and diamond imports, while also imposing stricter reporting rules on Russian assets held in the UK.
santions against Russia
Credit: Photo: Mikko Palonkorpi
UK escalates sanctions against Russia, targeting metal and diamond imports

On 14 December, the UK government announced a comprehensive package of sanctions aimed at further crippling Russia’s ability to wage war against Ukraine. This move follows the “most severe sanctions ever imposed on a major economy” in response to Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine. The UK witnessed a significant drop in trade with Russia, with imports decreasing by 94% and exports by 74% in the year following the invasion.

This latest set of sanctions is designed to ban the export of goods that could potentially be used for military or industrial purposes in Russia. This includes various machine parts and electronics recently identified on Ukrainian battlefields. The UK government emphasizes that, given the already low levels of trade with Russia, the new sanctions will continue to deprive Russia of critical products for its war efforts. Only exports deemed low-risk and those necessary for humanitarian, food, and health purposes will remain unsanctioned.

Additionally, the legislation targets products that generate revenue for Putin’s war machine. It specifically prohibits the import of certain Russian metals, as agreed upon by G7 leaders in May. Separate legislation is also being introduced to ban the import of Russian diamonds. Plans are underway to prohibit ancillary services related to metals in coordination with international partners.

Financial measures included in the legislation are designed to support businesses opting to divest from Russia. These measures clarify and extend the scope of existing sanctions on correspondent banking. New reporting obligations aim to enhance transparency regarding assets held in the UK and improve compliance with the sanctions regime. A designated person asset reporting measure will become effective on 26 December.

The new sanctions package targets approximately £70 million of potential UK exports to Russia and £67 million of imports. It also tightens restrictions on £662 million of exports already under sanction, based on 2021 trade flow data.

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