Russia to ban food imports from Ukraine

2015-11-18 22:45
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Moscow - Russia will ban food imports from neighbouring Ukraine starting on January 1, Russia's economic development minister said on Wednesday.

"Because Ukraine has joined the sanctions against the Russian Federation - economic and financial - we have made the decision to implement protective measures in the form of an embargo on foods," Alexei Ulyukayev said on state TV channel Rossiya-24.

In August, Russia's prime minister threatened to ban food imports from Ukraine if that country followed through with a free-trade deal with the European Union.

"There is a high probability that we will have to unilaterally protect our market against uncontrolled access of products through Ukrainian customs, products of third countries, primarily countries of the European Union," Ulyukayev said on Wednesday.

Ukraine estimates that it will lose about $600m in potential revenue next year because of the food embargo, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk told a meeting of his cabinet.

On a positive note, Yatsenyuk lauded the fact that his country was becoming more economically independent of Russia.

"While earlier our dependence was 35%, now it's at the level of 12.5%," Yatsenyuk said on Wednesday, according to a statement on his cabinet's website.

Relations between Ukraine and Russia began sinking to an all-time low last year when Kiev ousted its pro-Russian president during mass protests calling for closer ties with the EU.

Russia subsequently annexed Ukraine's southern Crimea Peninsula, the location of a major Russian naval base, and then supported a pro-Russian rebellion in Ukraine's two eastern-most regions.

Russia adamantly attests that it only backs the cause of the separatists and has not provided troops or weapons for the conflict. About 8 000 people have died in the conflict, according to estimates by the United Nations.

Western countries have imposed numerous sanctions on Russia because of the Ukraine conflict. Russia has responded in kind, including imposing a food import ban against the EU, the United States and other Western powers that initiated sanctions against Russia.

Read more on:    russia  |  ukraine

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