Russia prolongs food import ban

2015-06-22 21:32


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Moscow - Russia will continue to ban numerous categories of food from Western countries for another six months because the European Union has prolonged its sanctions against Russia, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Monday.

He ordered the government to prepare a decree in the name of President Vladimir Putin to inform the EU of the prolongation.

The European Union earlier in the day extended its economic sanctions against Russia by six months. The measure followed deadly fighting in eastern Ukraine over the weekend.

"EU extended economic sanctions against Russia until January 31 2016, with a view to complete implementation of Minsk agreements," EU foreign policy spokesperson Maja Kocijancic wrote on Twitter.

The sanctions, which aim to hamper Russian imports and Russian banks' access to European capital markets, are among the most controversial steps taken to influence Moscow's course in Ukraine. They have inflicted economic pain not only on Russia, but also on the European Union.

Russia quickly vowed to retaliate with counter-measures, with Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov calling the West's sanctions "unfounded and illegal", state media reported.

The head of Russia's Security Council accused the United States of pressuring the EU to prolong the sanctions.

"The US wants to dominate the world ... They are not worried about what is happening in Ukraine. They just need to put pressure on Russia," Nikolai Patrushev said in an interview with the Kommersant newspaper.

Russia last year banned imports of fruit, vegetables, meat, poultry, fish and dairy from Western countries that had imposed sanctions on Russia over the Ukraine crisis.

With the crisis remaining unresolved, EU leaders agreed in March that they would keep the sanctions in place until the ceasefire in eastern Ukraine is fully implemented.

The West has accused Russia of providing military support to separatists in eastern Ukraine - a charge that Moscow denies.

Read more on:    eu  |  russia

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