ROME, September 11. /ITAR-TASS/. European sanctions imposed on Russia and Moscow’s countersanctions have inflicted a loss of up to 100 million euros on Italy’s economy, Italian Economic Development Minister Federica Guidi said Wednesday.
“Losses from export shrinkage as a result of European sanctions and countersanctions on the part of Russia due to the Ukrainian crisis total not more than 100 million euros,” Guidi said.
According to representatives of the Northern League opposition party who accuse the government supporting the European Union’s anti-Russian sanctions of violating the country’s national interests, Italy is sustaining losses of some 15 billion euros.
Russian officials and companies came under the first batch of Western sanctions, including visa bans and asset freezes, after Russia incorporated Crimea in mid-March. The West and Kiev refused to recognize the legality of Crimea’s reunification with Russia despite Moscow’s explanations that it was legal.
The West announced new sectoral sanctions against Russia in late July over Moscow’s position on Ukrainian events, in particular, what the West claimed was Moscow’s alleged involvement in mass protests in Ukraine’s war-torn southeast.
In response, Russia 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.
Russia’s embargo inflicted most losses on small and midsized farms supplying fruits, cheese and meat products. Italy’s Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies announced that it opened access to EU-allocated funds for support of affected agricultural producers.
Last year, the volume of Italian food exports to Russia, including wine unaffected by restrictions totaled 706 million euros.
The list of products whose imports Russia banned as part of its response sanctions to Western nations 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 fruit 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.
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.
Fierce clashes between troops loyal to Kiev and local militias in the southeastern Ukrainian Donetsk and Lugansk regions during Kiev’s military operation to regain control over the breakaway territories, which call themselves the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s republics (DPR and LPR), have killed hundreds of civilians, brought massive destruction and forced hundreds of thousands to flee Ukraine’s southeast.
The Ukrainian warring sides agreed on cessation of fire during talks mediated by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Belarusian capital Minsk on September 5. The long hoped-for ceasefire took effect the same day.