G7 nations unveil new sanctions against Russia
As G7 leaders meet in Japan, the UK is imposing a Russian diamonds ban and the US is set to unveil a "substantial" sanctions package.
The United States and Britain announced fresh sanctions against Russia just as leaders from the Group of Seven (G7) major industrial countries kicked off their summit in Japan on Friday.
London said it plans to target Russian diamonds, while Washington said it would go after those entities helping Moscow to circumvent existing sanctions.
Ahead of their talks, the G7 heads of state and government laid wreaths at the memorial to the atomic bomb dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima at the end of World War II.
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Restrictions on Russian diamonds
On Twitter, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced a ban on Russian diamonds and imports of metals from Russia, including copper, aluminum and nickel.
Britain will also target an additional 86 individuals and companies involved in Russian President Vladimir Putin's "military-industrial complex," Sunak's government said, in addition to those involved in 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 the multi-billion dollar export of rough diamonds from Russia.
European Council President Charles Michel also said on Friday that the bloc wants to limit trade in Russian diamonds.
Fresh US sanctions on Russia
Separately, multiple media outlets quoted a senior US government official as saying that Washington is slapping 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 be rolling out a substantial package of our own."
The US measures include cutting off about 70 companies from Russia and other countries from US exports, according to the unnamed official, who added that 300 sanctions against individuals, entities, vessels and aircraft would be announced.
"These will go after circumvention. These will go out for financial facilitators, as well as future energy and extractive capabilities of Russia and other actors helping to support the war."
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German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Berlin wanted pragmatic measures to prevent the circumvention of sanctions imposed on Russia, appearing to temper the US calls for a more wide-ranging ban on exports.
The US has so far frozen Russian Central Bank funds, restricted banks' access to SWIFT — the dominant system for global financial transactions — and sanctioned thousands of Russian firms, government officials, oligarchs and their families.
US Treasury officials have traveled across Europe and Central Asia to press countries that still do business with the Kremlin to cut their financial ties.
G7 nations collectively imposed a $60 per-barrel price cap on Russian oil and diesel 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 free of nuclear weapons. Kishida said the achievement would be his life's work.
The US dropped a nuclear bomb on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, to force a quick Japanese surrender in World War II. An estimated 140,000 people were killed in the attack.
Some 78 years later, the nuclear threat remains elevated.
Russia has made thinly veiled threats to use nuclear weapons in the Ukraine war to defend its "territorial integrity."
China is also expanding its nuclear arsenal and North Korea has recently stoked fears of a new nuclear test with a barrage of missile launches.
Zelenskyy to attend G7 summit in person — reports
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will attend the G7 summit in Hiroshima in person on Sunday, a Ukrainian security official said Friday.
"Very important things will be decided there and therefore the presence of our president is absolutely essential in order to defend our interests," Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of the National Security and Defence Council, told state television.
However, there has been no formal announcement by Zelenskyy's office.
Zelenskyy traveled to Berlin, Paris, Rome and London last weekend to shore up military support for the war effort against Russia.
Ahead of his talks with Chancellor Olaf Scholz last Sunday, Germany announced a new military aid commitment worth €2.7 billion ($2.91 billion) to Ukraine.
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