On 7 August 2014, the Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev announced that Russia has banned certain food imports in response to the sanctions imposed by the west in view of the crisis in Ukraine.
Medvedev said that Russia has banned the import of fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, seafood, milk, dairy products and a wide range of processed foods from the US, the EU, Australia, Canada and Norway with immediate effect. “There is nothing good in sanctions and it wasn’t an easy decision to take, but we had to do it,” Medvedev said. The Prime Minister said that the ban will last for one year, but could be lifted or amended “if the situation changes”.
The decision follows the publication of a decree signed by President Putin on 6 August which ordered the Russian government to prohibit certain food imports from countries that have imposed sanctions on Russian persons and companies.
Medvedev also said that Russian officials are considering a ban on European airlines flying to Asia over Siberia, and that Moscow is “potentially ready” to introduce sanctions in a number of sectors, including the automobile industry, shipbuilding and aircraft production.
Russia is Europe’s second largest market for food and drink. Exports of food and raw materials to Russia have seen strong growth in recent years and were worth £9.7bn (€12.2bn) in 2013. The sanctions follow smaller scale bans imposed by the Russian government in recent months on particular food products for purported hygiene violations. The retaliatory measures show an escalation in Russia’s response to EU sanctions, and were imposed following the grounding the Russian budget airline subsidiary Aeroflot earlier this week.