Russia bans food imports in retaliation to sanctions

Russia has banned the importation of fruit, vegetables, meat, fish and diary imports from the United States, Australia, Canada, the European Union and Norway, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has said.

The measures are part of a raft of counter-measures to be imposed after the targeted nations imposed sanctions on Russia over its role in the crisis in Ukraine.

The import ban begins today and will last for one year, he added.

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Russian produce ban to miss British farmers

British farmers are unlikely to be affected by Russia's decision today to ban imports of fruit, vegetables, meat, fish and dairy products from the EU and a further four countries for 12 months.

British farmers, such as these exhibiting livestock at the North Devon show this week, sell little fresh produce to Russia. Credit: Ben Birchall/PA Wire

Martin Haworth, deputy director-general of the National Farmers Union, said that the UK exported food and drink worth only £115m to Russia last year. The total included £17m of frozen fish, £5.7m of cheese and £5.3m of coffee.

“However, other EU countries do export a lot and there is every likelihood that a ban could have an impact on EU prices, which will then have a knock-on effect in the UK," Haworth said.

The Foreign Office said that Russia had no grounds for imposing the sanctions, which will also affect the United States, Australia, Norway and Canada.

"Instead of retaliating, Russia should be using its influence with the violent Russian-backed separatists to stop destabilising Ukraine," a spokesman said.

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