- Russia is mainly maintaining the ban on imports of food products from countries that sanctioned senior officials, banks, companies and Russian oil companies after the Russian annexation of Crimea.
- The first time that Russia imposed this food embargo, which it extends annually, was in August 2014.
- In 2017, Moscow added live pigs and various by-products and animal fats to meat, dairy, fish, vegetable and fruit products.
Russian President Vladimir Putin , on Saturday extended an embargo on Western food imports introduced in 2014 until the end of 2021. In a decree, the Russian head of state directed the Cabinet to ensure implementation of the measures excluding food prodcuts from the US, the EU, Norway, Australia, and Canada.
The food embargo was imposed in response to sanctions adopted by the European Union (EU), the United States and other countries for the role of Russia in the Ukrainian conflict. The economic measure mainly affects EU imports.
As per the presidential decree, the extension has been pushed forward until December 31 of next year in what Economic experts see as “special economic measures” which are meant to guarantee the security of the country.
Through the measure, Russia is mainly maintaining the ban on imports of food products from countries that sanctioned senior officials, banks, companies and Russian oil companies after the Russian annexation of Crimea and the outbreak of war in the Donbas, eastern Ukraine (2014).
The first time that Russia imposed this food embargo, which it extends annually, was in August 2014 against the EU, the US, Australia, Norway and Canada , to which it later on added Albania, Montenegro, Iceland and Liechenstein in 2015 , and in 2016 added Ukraine .
In 2017, Moscow added live pigs and various by-products and animal fats to meat, dairy, fish, vegetable and fruit products. In addition, Putin later ordered that all Western perishable goods illegally entering the Russian market must be destroyed.
Putin extended the embargo on the West hours before participating in the G20 summit (group of developed and emerging economies) in which he emphasized the need for common efforts to combat covid-19 and its impact on the world economy.
This week he warned that tens of millions of people could end up on the streets due to the coronavirus pandemic, which in the case of Russia, among other factors, has caused a 3.6% shrinking of the economy in the first ten months of the year.
The EU, which does not recognize the Russian annexation of Crimea, makes the end of economic sanctions against Russia conditional on the full application of the Minsk Agreements for the resolution of the conflict in Donbas between Kiev and pro-Russian separatists.
Meanwhile, Putin has admitted that the embargo is, in reality, a protectionist measure aimed at protecting the Russian agri-food market, unable to compete with Western exports.
Many Russian producers are in full support of the embargo on the West being prolonged as long as possible.
Elsewhere, the Russian Foreign Ministry sanctioned 25 UK citizens in a tit-for-tat move owing to London’s earlier ban on 25 Russians.
“Any unfriendly step will not be left without an inevitable proportionate response,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.
Following Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, several countries, including the EU and US, placed sanctions on Moscow.