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Russia’s ban on import of Ukrainian dairy products comes into force

Rosselkhoznadzor officials believe the ban will not entail any consequences for Russia in the format of the World Trade Organization

MOSCOW, July 28. /ITAR-TASS/. Russian authorities’ ban on the imports of all dairy products and milk from Ukraine comes into force on Monday, July 28, the federal agricultural watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor.

Rosselkhoznadzor officials believe the ban will not entail any consequences for Russia in the format of the World Trade Organization.

Alexei Alexeyenko, Rosselkhoznadzor’s deputy director, said last Friday that “the ban concerns, first and foremost, the imports of cheeses that might be hazardous since their production process includes palm oil of unknown quality and origin.”

Rosselkhoznadzor announced earlier that July 28 would also be the starting date for a ban on imports of vegetative products from Ukraine in private individuals’ luggage, passengers’ hand-carried luggage and mailings.

The watchdog warned on July 23 that it would have to restrict the imports of all the foodstuffs from Ukraine if the government in Kiev failed to adopt the requirements of the Eurasian Customs Union (Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia) to the quality of imported European products before the signing of an agreement on Ukraine’s association with the EU.

Lyudmila Manitskaya, the executive director of the Russian Union of Dairy Enterprises, told Itar-Tass last week that the ban on Ukraine’s food imports could help reducing the number of counterfeit products on the Russian market. She said that counterfeits formed the bulk of Ukraine’s cheese exports to Russia.

According to her, Russian consumers would hardly notice temporary absence of Ukrainian goods, saying that “products from Lithuania and Belarus will arrive in abundance.”

Russia had previously banned imports of products from thirteen Ukrainian cheese factories, as well as all imports of potatoes for fear of the presence of golden nematode in the products and pork due to the threat of African Swine Fever (ASF).

ASF is a highly contagious notifiable disease in pigs caused by a virus. There is no vaccine against it and it can be stopped from spreading only through culling infected animals. The first African swine fever outbreak was registered in South Africa in 1903.

Also in effect at the moment in Russia are restrictions on the supplies of confectioneries from the Ukrainian factories owned by President Pyotr Poroshenko, as the Federal Service for Consumer Rights Protection voiced concerns over their quality and consumer safety.

Anna Popova, the head of the Federal Service for the Protection of Consumers’ Rights (Rospotrebnadzor), told a news conference last week on Wednesday that canned fish could also be added to the list of prohibited Ukrainian food products.

According to the Federal Customs Service, Russia’s food imports (except for drinks) from Ukraine reached a total of 229,600 tons worth $495 million since the start of 2014. The bulk of Russia’s imports from Ukraine consists of dairy products ($106.3 million); chocolate and other cocoa-containing products ($63 million); fruit juices ($21.1 million) and canned vegetables ($20.5 million).