The European Commission announced intentions to forbid the import of Russian gold on July 15, however according to media reports jewellery will not initially be included on the list of commodities to be banned. Jewellery would initially not be included on the list of goods that the EU will sanction, according to a document acquired by Politico.

According to the draft sanctions package, which still needs to be approved by EU countries, it shall be prohibited to purchase, import, or transfer, directly or indirectly, “gold, as listed in Annex XXVI, if it originates in Russia and has been exported from Russia into the Union or to any third country,” Politico reported.

“Russia’s brutal war against Ukraine continues unabated. Moscow must continue to pay a high price for its aggression,” Ursula von der Leyen, European Commission President stated in a press release.

However, the media agency reported citing the draft that the bloc would only prohibit gold in powder, unwrought or semi-manufactured forms, gold coins, and waste or scrap gold. The document does not include gold jewellery such as gold chains or gold rings, according to Politico. This could create loopholes that allow money to continue pouring into Kremlin coffers.

About 90% of Russia’s gold exports in 2019 went to UK

Each year, Russia sells gold worth billions of euros. About 90% of Russia’s gold exports in 2019 went to the UK, which is no longer a member of the EU. The proposal is a component of a new implementation package that further tightens export controls for advanced technology and dual-use items, as well as sets stronger reporting requirements for asset freezes of sanctioned individuals.

According to the document, the Commission intends to prohibit the export to Russia of items including tear gas, fingerprint ink, police helmets and shields, as well as water cannons that can be used to harm people. The legislation adds a few exclusions to asset freezes in an apparent effort to refute the Russian claim that the EU sanctions cause world hunger by preventing the shipment of food and grain. The import and transportation of agricultural and food products, such as wheat and fertilisers, are also exempt from this rule. 

Image: AP