Russia bans food imports in retaliation
OTTAWA—Russia is responding to fresh sanctions from Canada, the U.S., and other countries with a ban on food imports for a year.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said the ban covers meat, fish, milk and milk products, and fruit and vegetables from Canada, the U.S., the European Union, Australia, and Norway.
Yesterday, Canada slapped new sanctions and travel bans on several top Russian and Ukrainian politicians and groups with ties to Putin’s government.
Canada’s latest sanctions, imposed in co-ordination with the U.S. and the EU, came amid reports Russia is massing thousands of troops along the Ukrainian border.
Putin then ordered authorities to draft a list of agricultural products from countries that have imposed sanctions on Russia.
Medvedev said Russia also is considering banning western carriers from flying over Russia on flights to and from Asia—a move that would swell costs significantly and increase flight time.
He said a decision on that hasn’t been made yet.
Russia also may introduce restrictions regarding imports of planes, navy vessels, and cars, Medvedev said, but added the government will realistically assess its own production potential.
Russia’s food ban mostly will affect Canada’s pork industry.
Canada’s agricultural exports to Russia amounted to $563 million in 2012, according to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, and most of that was frozen pork.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper frequently has said Russia’s occupation of the Crimean Peninsula and provocative military activity in eastern Ukraine is a “grave concern” to Canada and the world.
Harper said Canada is prepared to take further actions if Putin’s government continues its military aggression.