VLADIVOSTOK, September 3. /TASS/. The number of attempts at smuggling of sanctioned food products into Russia has decreased 10-fold since the beginning of their destruction, Russian Agriculture Minister Alexander Tkachev said on Thursday.
"We protect the health of our citizens. We cannot give them unchecked, poor-quality products. And most importantly - unique things have happened, which we expected: the smugglers do not want to incur financial losses and therefore the number of sanctioned products’ smuggling attempts has dropped 10-fold. Each day we have to destroy less and less products," the minister said in an interview with Rossiya 24 TV channel within the framework of the Eastern Economic Forum.
"I believe that we should have the willpower, we must show grit and once and for all end the smuggling of substandard food products into Russia. Everybody will benefit from this in the long term," he said.
The decree on the destruction of the food products embargoed by Russia was signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin on July 29. The destruction of sanctioned food started in Russia on August 6. The Federal Customs Service, the veterinary and phitosanitary watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor and consumer rights watchdog Rospotrebnadzor were charged with the task.
Russia introduced restrictions on August 7, 2014 on imports of food products from countries that have imposed sanctions on it: the United States, European Union, Canada, Australia and Norway. Meat, sausages, fish and seafood, vegetables, fruit, dairy products were embargoed by Russia. Later, nutritional supplements, sports, children’s food and preventive nutrition products [including lactose-free products] were excluded from the sanctions list.
The Russian food embargo has been extended for a year until August 6, 2016, with the same exceptions. In addition, the list of countries subjected to the sanctions has been extended - it now also includes the Republic of Albania, Montenegro, the Republic of Iceland and Principality of Liechtenstein.
The food embargo will affect Ukraine only if it signs the economic part of its association with the EU, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on August 13.
"From now on, the list - which already includes the EU, Australia, Canada, Norway and the US, and prohibits the supplies of some agricultural products from these countries since last August - has been extended to Albania, Montenegro, Iceland and Liechtenstein and, subject to special conditions, Ukraine," he said, adding that these countries had recently supported the EU’s extended sanctions against Russia.
"These countries explained their decision to prolong anti-Russian sanctions by the fact that they are obliged to do so under some sorts of agreements with the EU, but this position is only partly true," said Medvedev, "a number of states that have similar agreements with the EU haven’t joined the sanctions against Russia, so that was a conscious choice, which means their readiness to a response from our part.".