Rishi Sunak announced his latest move yesterday in the crackdown on Vladimir Putin’s brutal regime – a UK ban on Russian diamonds.
The £3.2billion industry is being targeted in a fresh round of sanctions, that includes outlawing imports of Russian-origin copper, aluminum and nickel.
The Prime Minister will warn world leaders against “complacency” in standing up to autocratic regimes at the G7 summit in Hiroshima, Japan, today.
Mr Sunak touched down in the city yesterday, becoming the first British PM to visit since the end of the Second World War.
Ahead of the G7 showpiece, Mr Sunak said: “For the sake of global peace and security, we must show that brutal violence and coercion does not reap rewards. As today’s sanctions announcement demonstrates, the G7 remains unified in the face of the threat from Russia and steadfast in our support for Ukraine.
“We are meeting today in Hiroshima, a city that exemplifies both the horrors of war and the dividends of peace. We must redouble our efforts to defend the values of freedom, democracy and tolerance, both in Ukraine and here in the Indo-Pacific.”
The diamonds announcement follows the PM’s key meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Monday. The Government is also targeting 86 people and companies from the Kremlin’s military industrial complex, and those involved in key revenue streams such as energy, metals and shipping.
They include those supporting Putin, to actively undermine the impact of existing sanctions, as the UK continues to work with G7 partners to tackle all forms of sanctions circumvention.
Mr Sunak had dinner with his Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida in the historic city ahead of the summit last night.
He will visit the A-Bomb Dome at the Hiroshima Peace Park with fellow G7 leaders today.
The Prime Minister is expected to urge the international community to stay the course on Ukraine, ensuring that it has the diplomatic, military and economic support it needs, in the interests of international peace and security. The UK has implemented the most severe package of sanctions ever imposed on a major economy to undermine Russia’s war effort.
To date, Britain has sanctioned more than 1,500 individuals and entities, freezing £18billion of assets in the UK. More than £20billion of UK-Russia trade in goods has also been sanctioned.
The UK had already taken action on Russian diamonds, sanctioning the state-owned company Alrosa and hiking tariffs by an additional 35 percent. Moscow is cut off from Western financial markets and there is a sustained reduction in the country’s oil revenues.
More than 60 percent of Putin’s “war chest” of foreign reserves has been immobilized – with the volume said to be worth £275 billion. Mr Sunak’s visit to Hiroshima comes after he spent the day in Tokyo meeting Japanese business leaders and hailing £18billion of investment in the UK.
He has been reassuring Japanese firms, such as Nissan, that the government is working to address concerns about post-Brexit trading terms with the EU.
The PM told Japanese business leaders their commitment to invest in the UK is a “huge vote of confidence” in the economy.
He said: “I feel so proud about what we’ve achieved, but also so excited about what’s on offer. The opportunity for us all is incredible, so let’s go and seize it together.”
Meanwhile, Mr. Sunak charmed Mr. Kishida by wearing the socks of his favorite baseball team. The PM wore the red colors of the Hiroshima Toyo Carp.
Having complied with Japanese etiquette by removing his shoes, Mr Sunak gestured downwards and said: “I hope your baseball team has had a better season than my football team, who have had a very bad season.”
Indeed, bottom-placed team Southampton FC will be relegated from the Premier League this year.