السبت , يونيو 6 2020

Putin orders retaliatory sanctions

A shopper in a Moscow supermarket, 5 August 2013A shopper in a Moscow supermarket (photo taken last year)

Russian President Vladimir Putin has banned or curbed agricultural imports from countries imposing sanctions on Russia over the crisis in Ukraine.

In a decree (Russian text), he ordered the measures, which also apply to food imports, to be introduced for one year.

Government departments were instructed to come up with a list of products subject to the order.

Russia has imposed import bans on other states in the past, but normally on grounds of public health.

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Excerpt from Putin’s decree

With the aim of protecting the national interests of the Russian Federation and in accordance with the Federal Laws of 30 December 2006 No 281-FZ “On special economic measures” and of 28 December 2010 No 390-FZ “On security”, I decree that: “State power bodies of the Russian Federation, federal state bodies, local government bodies, legal entities set up in accordance with the legislation of the Russian Federation, and organizations and individuals that come under the jurisdiction of the Russian Federation shall proceed in their actions from the fact that, for one year from the date when this decree comes into force, foreign economic transactions involving the importation into the territory of the Russian Federation of certain types of agricultural produce, raw materials and food of which the country of origin is a state which has taken a decision to impose economic sanctions against Russian legal entities and/or individuals, or joined such a decision, are banned or restricted…”

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Wednesday’s decree did not specify which countries would be affected by the new measures but the EU and US recently tightened sanctions on Russia, with Brussels extending them from individuals to sectors of the economy.

Russia buys fruit and vegetables from the EU worth an annual 2bn euros (£1.6bn; $2.7bn), and food and agricultural products from the US worth about 1bn euros.

Last week Russia banned most agricultural imports from Poland on grounds of public health in what was seen as a thinly veiled retaliation for Poland’s advocacy of tough action over Ukraine.

‘National interests’

The decree cites Russian “national interests” as grounds for the punitive measures.

Russia, which was first subjected to sanctions after annexing Crimea in March, has been accused of fomenting the armed rebellion in Ukraine’s eastern regions.

Brussels hardened its sanctions at the end of July, weeks after a Malaysia Airlines jet crashed in rebel-held territory in Ukraine, after reportedly being hit by a missile.

All 298 passengers and crew aboard the plane were killed, 193 Dutch citizens among them.

The new EU sanctions targeted close allies of Mr Putin such as billionaire tycoon Arkady Rotenberg but they also hit exports of oil industry and defence technology and affected Russian state banks’ access to Western capital.

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