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Russia bans imports of farm produce, raw foods from Ukraine

January 02, 2016, 8:38 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on December 21 he had signed a resolution on the application of counter-sanctions to Ukraine as of the beginning of 2016

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MOSCOW, January 1. /TASS/. Russia imposed a ban on the imports of agricultural produce, raw foods, and foodstuffs from Ukraine as of January 1, 2016.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on December 21 he had signed a resolution on the application of counter-sanctions to Ukraine as of the beginning of 2016.

"A ban on the import of agricultural products, raw materials and foodstuffs originating in Ukraine will be introduced as of January 1, 2016," an interpretive note appended to document said. It also indicated that the Prime Minister's decision aimed to ramify the special reciprocal measures on Ukraine.

The EU and Ukraine took a decision to begin implementation of the economic chapters of their Association Agreement (AA) on January 1, and in this connection Russia decided to impose the counter-measures on Ukraine similar to the ones it enacted against the EU earlier. The step is necessary to protect the internal market and Russian producers, Medvedev said.

Moscow introduced counter-sanctions against the EU, the U.S., Canada, Australia, and Norway in response to their anti-Russian sanctions on August 7, 2014. Exactly a year after that, on August 7, 2015, Albania, Montenegro, Iceland, and Liechtenstein were added to the list.

Through to August 6, 2016, a foodstuff embargo is in place. It affects the imports of meat, sausage fish and marine products, vegetables, fruit, and dairy produce.

At a certain moment, the government exempted nutrition formulas, sports and baby supplements, and health foods the embargo list. Also, it began to destroy the sanctioned foodstuffs that had been smuggled into Russia.

When the counter-sanctions were expanded in August 2015, Moscow made a reservation concerning Ukraine. It said sanctions against the neighboring country would not be introduced if the government in Kiev took account of Russia's interests during the implementation of the AA.

Ukraine, however, embarked on implementing the AA without account of the Russian interests, the measures taken previously against other countries also embraced it on the first day of 2016.

"We told the Ukrainian officials more than once the enactment of economic cBARGO hapters of the with the EU would affect our interests and create economic risks for this country," Medvedev said. "Several rounds of negotiations were held but they were fruitless as neither Ukraine nor the EU are prepared to sign a legally binding agreement that would take due account of Russia's concerns."

Expectedly enough, Ukraine drafted its own sanctions in response. On December 24, the Verkhovna Rada signed a law of external economic activity wherein it empowered the government to introduce anti-Russian economic sanctions.

In part, the government received an opportunity to prohibit or to restrict external economic operations as well as to lift tariff privileges.

As of January 10, 2016, Ukraine bans the imports of Russian bread and baked products, cookies, chocolates, cattle meat, fish, roasted coffee, black tea, foodstuffs, cigarettes with filter, beer, vodka, and some other commodities.

This is almost an almost complete list of products Russia has supplied to Ukraine.

Simultaneously, a decision on suspending the agreement on a free trade zone took effect as of January 2. Ukraine is now subject to the import fees like all the countries supplying their produce to the territory of the Eurasian Economic Union that embraces Armenia, Belarus, Armenia, and Kyrgyzstan.

"The means Ukraine will have the most favored nation status without any special preferences," Medvedev said in December at a meeting with Deputy Prime Ministers. "All the preferences are about to become history, and there'll be no discounts anymore.

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