Russia says it will have no trouble skirting latest EU sanctions

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Dec 19 (Reuters) – Russia said on Tuesday it would have no difficulty skirting the latest package of EU economic sanctions, which notably target its diamond exports.

“We will simply redirect sales to other regions. I’m sure this won’t benefit those who introduced these sanctions,” Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said while on a visit to Beijing, according to the state news agency TASS.

The new sanctions package, adopted by the European Council on Monday, bans the import of Russian-origin non-industrial diamonds, imposes additional import and export bans on Russia, and seeks to combat sanctions circumvention and close loopholes.

Russia is by far the world’s biggest diamond producer by volume. The Russian diamond miner Alrosa, majority-owned by the state and the Yakutia region, declined to comment on the sanctions.

But the Kremlin said on Tuesday that Russia had prepared for the latest European Union sanctions, imposed in response to its invasion of Ukraine, which Moscow calls a “special military operation”.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry said that, in response to the new “unfriendly, illegitimate actions”, it would expand the list of representatives of European institutions and EU member states banned from entering Russia.

On Monday, Russia’s diplomatic mission to the European Union said that attempts to isolate the Russian economy had failed miserably, and that the latest sanctions included “illegitimate restrictions, political blackmail, neo-colonial approaches”.

(Reporting by Reuters; Writing by Kevin Liffey; Editing by Ed Osmond)

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