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U.S. imposes new sanctions on Russia targeting oil and diamonds imports

U.S. imposes new sanctions on Russia targeting oil and diamonds imports Illustrative photo (Photo: Getty Images)
Author: Daria Shekina

The United States of America today, February 8, imposed new sanctions against Russia. They include import restrictions on diamonds, according to the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

"Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is taking its second price cap enforcement action of 2024, imposing sanctions on four entities and identifying one vessel as blocked property. The network of these entities and the vessel were involved in a price cap violation scheme in late 2023. OFAC is also issuing two new determinations that implement G7 commitments to ban the importation of Russian diamonds," the statement says.

OFAC also issued two new directives to implement G7 commitments on banning the import of Russian diamonds.

Brian Nelson, Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, has said that actions against vessels violating price restrictions on Russian oil should serve as a constant reminder that the U.S. can and will enforce compliance with restrictions.

Who is affected by the sanctions

The company Zeenit, based in the United Arab Emirates, sold Russian crude oil grade Urals for over $80 per barrel in November 2023, which it delivered on the NS Leader vessel.

Zeenit and Talassa, a company based in the UAE, engaged in joint shipments of several batches of crude oil from the Russian Federation using vessels loaded at Russian ports in 2023.

The restrictions also affected the Liberian-registered company NS Leader Shipping and Oil Tankers SCF, based in the UAE.

Diamond import

OFAC also issued two directives banning the import of certain categories of diamonds mined in Russia.

First, OFAC issued a directive banning the import of non-technical diamonds mined or extracted in Russia, regardless of whether they have been substantially transformed in a third country, which will take effect on March 1, 2024, for certain categories of diamonds and will be expanded on December 1, 2024, to include additional categories.

Secondly, OFAC issued a directive banning the import, effective March 1, 2024, of jewelry with diamonds and unsorted diamonds originating from the Russian Federation or exported from the Russian Federation.

These bans are aimed at implementing commitments made by the G7 in December 2023 to introduce phased restrictions on the import of diamonds mined or extracted in Russia.

Sanctions against Russia

Today it became known that Taiwan has added 77 items to the list of goods whose export to Russia and Belarus is prohibited.

Also, the European Union has begun discussions on a new package of sanctions, which it intends to approve by February 24, 2024.

According to Reuters, the sanctions package will not include new restrictions on the import of Russian goods.