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The EU has added Russian mining giant Alrosa and its CEO to an ever-growing blacklist over the war in Ukraine.

“Alrosa is the largest diamond-mining company in the world. The diamond industry is strategically important for the economy of the Russian Federation, as it is the top non-energy export of the country,” the EU sanctions notice, published on Wednesday (3 December) said.

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“Alrosa accounts for over 90 percent of all Russian diamond production. Alrosa also has a long-standing partnership with the Russian Armed Forces, as it has sponsored a submarine of the Russian Navy since 1997,” it added.

The EU imposed an asset freeze and visa-ban on the firm’s CEO, 46-year old Pavel Marinychev, on the same day.

It described him as “a businessperson involved in an economic sector providing a substantial source of revenue to the government of the Russian Federation, which is responsible for the annexation of Crimea and the destabilisation of Ukraine”.

The Alrosa ban comes after the EU imposed a blanket import embargo on Russian diamonds as part of its 12th round of Russia sanctions in late December.

And the time-lag was due for technical reasons, diplomats said.

“Individual listings are effective immediately upon publication, while the import ban on Russian diamonds was only effective starting on 1 January 2024. To avoid confusion on the start of the import ban, it was decided to wait until a few days after the entry into force of the ban to sanction Alrosa and its CEO,” an EU diplomat said.

Alrosa has over 50 subsidiaries, including in Antwerp (Belgium), Naples (Italy), and Luxembourg.

Some 20 other major Russian companies handle diamond cutting, processing, trading, and equipment supplies.

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