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The decision followed reports of the Russian veterinary and phyto-sanitary watchdog - Rosselkhoznadzor - that meat products infected with an African Swine Fever (ASF) virus had appeared in several parts of Russia, including the cities of Bryansk and Orenburg, the Urals, as well as the Kursk region.
Ukraine’s veterinary authorities have forbidden importing animals susceptible to African swine fever from Russia into Ukraine. Ukraine’s State Inspection for Veterinary Medicine has also banned imports of pork meat and pork products; ready-made fodders and livestock supplements as well as fodders of vegetative origin from Russia to Ukraine.
Ukraine’s ban may have come in retaliation for a series of restrictive measures which the Russian Federal Agency for Veterinary and Photo-Sanitary Inspection (Rosselkhoznadzor) has recently imposed on Ukrainian foods and products of vegetative origin.
Russia’s veterinary and phyto-sanitary watchdog has forbidden to import vegetative products from Ukraine into Russia if they are contained in hand luggage, baggage or postal items. The ban comes into force as of July 28.
Alekseyenko noted that Rosselkhoznadzor has offered Ukraine’s State Veterinary Service to hold urgent telephone consultations on the matter but Kiev left the proposal without response.
A day earlier, on Wednesday, Russia’s veterinary and phyto-sanitary officials said they might ban all food imports from Ukraine if the latter ratified its agreement with the European Union.
“We need to decide how we are going to deal with such deliveries because EU laws are different from the Russian ones,” Alekseyenko said.According to him, Ukraine’s ratification of the association agreement with EU will force Russia to apply the same rules to goods coming from Ukraine as to products from other EU countries. If Ukrainian enterprises fail to switch over to new requirements by that time, Russia will have to stop deliveries of food products from Ukraine.
Rosselkhoznadzor suggests that Ukraine’s veterinary service start early consultations with Russia to discuss the transition to requirements which the Customs Union (a body uniting Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan) sets for goods imported from EU.
Lyudmila Manitskaya, the executive director of the Russian Union of Dairy Enterprises, told ITAR-TASS that the ban on Ukraine’s food imports could help reducing the number of counterfeit products in the Russian market. She noted that counterfeits formed the bulk of Ukraine’s cheese exports to Russia.
Russian consumers are unlikely to notice temporary disappearance of Ukrainian goods from the shelves. “Products from Lithuania and Belarus will come in abundance,” Manitskaya added.
For the moment, Russia has banned cheese imports from 13 plants in Ukraine; Ukrainian potatoes presumably infected with golden nematode are also forbidden in Russia just as pork imports for fear of African Swine Fever.
Russia has also banned all chocolate imports of the Roshen Company owned by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko because of quality and safety concerns.
Anna Popova, the head of the Federal Service for the Protection of Consumers’ Rights (Rospotrebnadzor), told a news conference on Wednesday that canned fish could also be added to the list of prohibited Ukrainian food products soon.