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Following Western Sanctions, Russia Orders Ban On Some Imports

Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered a ban on some food and agricultural imports from countries that have imposed sanctions on Russia.

In a statement, the Kremlin said the measures were intended to "protect Russia's security."

What is not clear is which food and agricultural imports will be banned. Instead, Putin asked his government to come up with a list of "products, raw materials and food" to include on the list in a way that prevents "the rapid growth of prices."

As the AP reads it, that clause appears to indicate that measures would not be wide-ranging. The wire service adds:

"The move follows the latest round of sanctions against Russia imposed by the European Union last week, which for the first time targeted entire sectors of the Russian economy.

"The U.S. and the EU have accused Russia, which annexed Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula in March, of fomenting tensions in eastern Ukraine by supplying arms and expertise to a pro-Moscow insurgency, and have imposed asset freezes and loan bans on a score of individuals and companies.

"Russia depends heavily on imported foodstuffs — most of it from the West — particularly in the largest and most prosperous cities such as Moscow. Agricultural imports from the United States alone have amounted to about $1 billion annually in recent years and in 2013 the EU's agricultural exports to Russia totaled 11.8 billion euros."

Russia Today, an English-language news outlet funded by Russia, reports it will take Putin's cabinet two to three days to prepare a list.

RT reports:

"The [agricultural watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor] is to hold consultations on Thursday with Ecuador, Brazil, Chile and Argentina on expanding product imports to Russia from those countries.

"The register of the banned or restricted products will be flexible, a source in the government told Vedomosti daily. It will include different kinds of vegetables, fruit, and meat. However, wine and baby foods will 'definitely' not come under sanctions, the source added. According to another government official, cheeses, meat, and dairy products are those most likely be affected by the ban."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.

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