Russia to extend ban on Western food imports

Russia is expected to extend its ban on Western food imports beyond its August 7 deadline, according to Russian media reports.

The Moscow Times cites government plans to invest in farming to make Russia self-sufficient in milk, meat and fruit and vegetables.

“We are not currently considering cancelling the ban,” deputy prime minister Arkady Dvorkovich told reporters in Moscow.

President Vladimir Putin said he will support moves to boost Russia’s food security. On his televised call-in, he underlined the role of agriculture and he appointed a new agriculture minister to spur domestic output.

The ban on most foods from the US, EU and other countries is worth about €8bn. It was imposed after Western sanctions on Russia over the Ukraine crisis.

However, with the EU suggesting it will extend sanctions on Russia until a peace deal on Ukraine, agreed in Minsk in February, is implemented by the end of 2015, there is little incentive for Moscow to lift the ban.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has hinted t the decision would depend on the outcome of an EU summit in June when the bloc will take a decision on whether to extend sanctions that expire in July.


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