BRUSSELS, August 15 /ITAR-TASS/. The European Union regrets that Russia imposed a food embargo on Western food products and is asking third countries not to replace European food on the Russian market, the EU Council said Friday in a final communique following an extraordinary foreign ministerial meeting on Ukraine.
The statement said the move is designed to ensure unity of the international community and compliance with international law. The EU, it said, hopes third countries and countries applicants for EU membership will abstain from measures aimed at using new trade opportunities due to the current situation.
In response to new Western sectoral sanctions against Russia, Moscow imposed on August 6 a one-year ban on imports of beef, pork, poultry, fish, cheeses, fruit, vegetables and dairy products from Australia, Canada, the EU, the United States and Norway.
The banned products list includes cattle meat (fresh, chilled and refrigerated), pork (fresh, chilled and refrigerated), poultry meat and all poultry edible by-products, salted meat, pickled meat, dried meat, smoked meat, fish, clams and other water invertebrates, milk and dairy products, vegetables, edible roots and tuber crops.
The list also contains fruits and nuts, sausage and analogous meat products, meat by-products or blood, as well as products made of them, ready-to-eat products including cheeses and cottage-cheese based on vegetable fats.
The EU Council also welcomed on Friday the European Commission’s work to assess losses from Russian countersanctions and discuss a proper response. The Council confirmed that a special meeting of 28 EU agriculture ministers to discuss the problem will be held in September.
The EU foreign ministers did not speak about new sanctions against Russia but noted in their final statement that new restrictions against Russia were possible.
Russian officials and companies have come under sanctions, including visa bans, asset freezes and other punitive measures, on the part of Western nations following reunification of Crimea with Russia in mid-March.
Despite Moscow’s repeated statements that the Crimean referendum on secession from Ukraine was in line with the international law and the UN Charter and in conformity with the precedent set by Kosovo’s secession from Serbia in 2008, the West and Kiev have refused to recognize the legality of Crimea’s reunification with Russia.
The US-led West has threatened Russia with further penalties, including economic ones, for incorporation of Crimea and what the West claimed was Moscow’s alleged involvement in mass protests in Ukraine’s war-torn Southeast.
Russia has repeatedly dismissed Western allegations that it could in any way be involved in protests in the Southeast of Ukraine, which started after Crimea refused to recognize the authorities propelled to power during a coup in Ukraine in February and reunified with Russia in mid-March after some 60 years as part of Ukraine.
Moscow has said the language of sanctions is counterproductive and will strike back at Western countries.