Leaving the EU didn’t soften Russia’s hawkish stance towards the UK.
When President Putin recently signed a decree extending until the end of 2021 Russia’s ban on import of agricultural products from countries that applied economic sanctions against Russia, the UK was separately added to the ban list, to reflect its Brexit separation from the EU.
Since 2014, Russia has banned many agricultural products from the USA, the EU, Canada, Australia, Norway, Ukraine, Albania, Montenegro, Iceland, and Liechtenstein, in retaliation for these countries applying economic sanctions after Russian military forces entered and occupied the Crimea territory of Ukraine.
Moscow’s alleged involvement in military conflict in eastern Ukraine was also cited by western countries which targeted Russia’s finance, energy and defence sectors with sanctions which hurt the Russian economy, restricting Russian access to global financial markets and cutting Russian imports of key technologies.
As a result of the ban, EU annual dairy exports of 30,000 tonnes of butter, 257,000 tonnes of cheese, 21,000 tonnes of skim milk powder, and 26,000 tonnes of whey powder, with total value of €1.4bn, were halted.
Finland, the Netherlands, Lithuania, Poland, and Germany were the member states worst affected.
With meats, fruit, and vegetables from the EU also banned, there was a fall from around €11.8 billion in 2013 to around €6 billion in 2017 in EU agri-food exports to Russia.
As part of the ban, Russian authorities have destroyed up to 7,600 tonnes of food per year, such as fruits and vegetables, cheeses and livestock products, all banned food products from western countries.