G7: Rishi Sunak Vows to Make Russia Pay with New Sanctions

Rishi Sunak has expressed his determination to ensure “Russia pays a price” for its military aggression in Ukraine, following the unveiling of fresh sanctions focused on Russian exports.

In a conversation with Chris Mason from BBC at the G7 meeting in Hiroshima, Japan, the Prime Minister affirmed his leadership role in imposing new sanctions on Russia.

He voiced his expectations that other nations would join in.

One of the sanctions to be implemented by the government includes a prohibition on Russian diamond imports into the UK.

The Russian diamond sector had exports valued at $4bn (£3.2bn) in 2021.

Imports of copper, aluminium, and nickel of Russian origin will also be prevented, as per the new laws set to be introduced later this year.

“We believe in democracy, freedom, the rule of law – and it’s right that we stand up for those things,” Mr. Sunak shared with the BBC.

He stated, “I’m hopeful and confident that our partner countries will follow as they have done when we’ve done this previously.”

“This will enhance the effectiveness of the sanctions, ensure that Russia pays a price for its illegal activity.”

“The UK government also plans to expand its sanctions to an additional 86 individuals and corporations linked to President Vladimir Putin, including those who were “actively undermining the impact of existing sanctions”.

In response to Russia’s attack on Ukraine, the UK has sanctioned over 1,500 individuals and entities, freezing assets totaling more than £18 billion under the sanctions regime.

In a move to undermine Russia’s capacity to finance the war in Ukraine, the UK, US, Canada, and Japan prohibited the import of Russian gold last year.

Downing Street revealed that roughly 60% of President Putin’s war funds has been “immobilised”, amounting to about £275bn.

Both the US and the EU have imposed similar sanctions on Russia – with US President Joe Biden outlining plans to ban Russian diamonds, seafood, and vodka last year.

Charles Michel, President of the European Council, announced that the EU also intends to limit the trade of Russian diamonds as a means of further isolating Moscow.

Mr. Sunak is attending the G7 summit in Hiroshima, which includes the UK, Japan, Italy, Canada, France, the US, and Germany.

Before the meeting, the Prime Minister visited Hiroshima Peace Park, where the first nuclear bomb was dropped by the US, in the company of other G7 leaders.

The Ukrainian war and economic security are expected to be key topics in the discussion.

Recently, Russia has escalated the number of missile attacks on Ukraine, while Ukraine seems to be intercepting more of Russia’s missiles.

At the summit, Mr. Sunak is anticipated to urge other global leaders “against complacency in defending our values and standing up to autocratic regimes”.

On Sunday, he will have a meeting with the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, who is participating in the G7 summit as a guest.

Mr. Modi has maintained a neutral stance on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, advocating for a peaceful resolution to the crisis.

In Japan, Mr. Sunak informed the press that he noticed “positive” changes in India’s position on the war.

The Prime Minister asserted that the sanctions are proof of the G7’s unity against the threat posed by Russia.

He said: “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.”