G7 huddle turns up the heat on Russia with harsher sanctions

1684577879 G7 huddle turns up the heat on Russia with harsher
US President Joe Biden reacts at a working session during the G7 Leaders Summit in Hiroshima on May 20, 2023.—  AFP/File
US President Joe Biden reacts at a working session during the G7 Leaders’ Summit in Hiroshima on May 20, 2023.—  AFP/File

The Group of Seven (G7) summit in Hiroshima, Japan is underway and leaders of the world’s most powerful countries are expected to announce tougher sanctions on Russia to increase pressure and bring an end to the war in Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will also attend the three-day summit to stress how the new sanctions will impact Russia’s efforts in the war.

According to EU Council President Charles Michel, the European Union (EU) plans to implement more severe restrictions on Russia, which is already the most sanctioned country. The EU aims to ban diamond imports from Russia, worth $4 billion a year, and eliminate any existing loopholes that Russia may be using to circumvent earlier sanctions.

Last year, the United Kingdom and the United States imposed a ban on gold exports worth $15.4 billion and also froze the assets of Russia’s central bank. On Friday, the UK imposed new sanctions on 86 individuals and companies related to Rosatom, a Russian corporation specializing in nuclear energy goods. Assets will remain frozen until “Russia agrees to pay for the damage it has caused in Ukraine,” said the British Commonwealth & Development Office. Meanwhile, the US is working to restrict Russia’s international money-making efforts.

In a recent announcement, the US Department of State imposed new sanctions on over 200 entities, individuals, vessels, and aircraft. This includes Russia’s energy, military, technology, metals and mining sectors, along with entities and people involved in the unlawful deportation of Ukrainian children and seizures of Ukrainian grain.

Since Putin’s forces initiated the conflict with Ukraine, the EU has successfully imposed ten rounds of sanctions on Russia, affecting their banks, companies, and energy sector while freezing assets of more than 1000 officials subject to travel ban. In February, Japan also imposed sanctions by freezing the assets of Russians and Russian companies and suspending visas for some.

Sanctions are defined by BBC.com as restrictions imposed by one country on the activities of another country to prevent them from acting against or breaking international law. They are the toughest actions taken by nations in a state of conflict and can be imposed with minimal notice.

The G7 summit is a collective effort to press Russia to end the war in Ukraine, and the imposed sanctions will result in Russia banning over 200 goods from the West, including telecoms, medical, vehicle, agricultural, electrical equipment, and timber products, according to BBC.