The United States and Britain announced new sanctions against Russia as leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) major industrial nations began their summit in Japan on Friday.
London has said it plans to target Russian diamonds, while several news outlets have reported that Washington plans to go after entities that help Moscow evade existing sanctions.
Before their talks, the G7 heads of state and government laid wreaths in memory of the atomic bomb dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima at the end of World War II.
Restrictions on diamonds in Russia
On Twitter, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced a ban on Russian diamonds and the import of metals from Russia, including copper, aluminum and nickel.
Britain will also target an additional 86 individuals and companies involved in President Vladimir Putin’s “military-industrial complex,” Sunak’s government said, in addition to those involved in the energy, metals and shipping industries.
The G7 as a whole is expected to further tighten existing sanctions against Russia over its war in Ukraine and announce restrictions on multi-billion dollar exports of rough diamonds from Russia.
European Council President Charles Michel also said on Friday that the bloc wants to limit trade in diamonds with Russia.
New US sanctions on Russia
In fact, several media outlets quoted a senior US government official as saying that Washington had slapped on a new package of sanctions.
“All G7 members are preparing to implement new sanctions and export controls,” the official said. “But the United States will launch a large package of our own.”
The US measures include cutting off about 70 companies from Russia and other countries from exporting to the US, according to the unnamed official, adding that 300 sanctions against individuals, entities, ship and plane will be announced.
“It goes after the circumvention. It goes out for the financial facilitators, as well as the future energy and extractive capabilities of Russia and other actors that help support the war.”
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Berlin wanted pragmatic measures to prevent the tightening of sanctions imposed on Russia, appearing to fend off US calls for a broader ban on export.
The US is currently freezing Russian Central Bank funds, restricting banks’ access to SWIFT – the world’s dominant system of financial transactions – and sanctioning thousands of Russian companies, government officials said. , oligarchs and their families.
US Treasury officials have traveled across Europe and Central Asia to pressure countries that still do business with the Kremlin to cut their financial ties.
G7 countries collectively imposed a $60 per barrel cap on Russian oil and diesel prices last year.
Tokyo calls for nuclear disarmament
As world leaders, including US President Joe Biden, laid wreaths at Hiroshima’s cenotaph on Friday, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida called for a world without nuclear weapons. . Kishida said success is his life’s work.
The US dropped a nuclear bomb on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, to force the rapid surrender of Japan in World War II. An estimated 140,000 people died in the attack.
Some 78 years later, the nuclear threat remains high.
Russia has made thinly veiled threats to use nuclear weapons in a war in Ukraine to defend its “territorial integrity.”
China is also expanding its nuclear arsenal and North Korea has recently sparked fears of a new nuclear test with multiple missile launches.
Zelenskyy to attend the G7 summit in person – officially
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will attend the G7 summit in Hiroshima in person on Sunday, a Ukrainian security official said on Friday.
“Very important matters will be decided there and therefore the presence of our president is very important to protect our interests,” Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of the National Security and Defense Council, told state television.
However, there was no formal announcement by Zelenskyy’s office.
Zelenskyy traveled to Berlin, Paris, Rome and London last week to drum up military support for the war effort against Russia.
Ahead of his talks with Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Sunday, Germany announced a new military aid commitment worth €2.7 billion ($2.91 billion) to Ukraine.
fb, mm/rt (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)