Russia extends Western food ban

In retaliation to the European Union’s extended sanctions against Russia over the situation in Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin has extended his country’s ban of food imports from the West for one year, starting June 24.

That ban is longer than the six months that had been anticipated after the EU extended sanctions this week.

In a report by Reuters, Putin told a meeting of government members in Moscow that Russia’s reaction to “the decision of our European colleagues regarding so-called sanctions … The head of the government has approached me with a letter to extend measures, which we put in place in a response to actions of our partners.”

The ban prohibits most food imports from the United States, the EU, Australia, Canada and Norway. Banned products on the list, approved last year, included fruit, vegetables, meat, poultry, fish, milk and dairy.

In another Reuters’ report, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev told a government meeting on June 25 that a list of banned products from Western countries could be changed according to the state of relations with the EU and other countries. Medvedev said the list of banned products is fluid, and can be changed depending on a number of issues, including developing relations with Russia’s European partners and partners in a number of other countries. Some reports have the list expanding to include flowers, chocolates and tinned fish.

It is reported that Putin praised the import ban for spurring agricultural growth, and he claims that Russia is weathering sanctions that have all but cut off banks and companies from global financial markets and oil companies from some cooperation.

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