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Russia not to cancel food embargo

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Russia has no intention of canceling its embargo on food products from countries that imposed sanctions on Moscow over the crisis in Ukraine, Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich says.

“We are not planning to cancel the food embargo so far,” said Dvorkovich at the Krasnoyarsk Economic Forum on Saturday.

The deputy premier added that Russian authorities are instead discussing the reduction of import duties for a number of products from the food embargo list for countries, which have not imposed sanctions on Russia.

Dvorkovich’s remarks came two days after four Russian lawmakers submitted a bill contesting the 6-month old embargo. The Lower House committee for Economic Policy has said it would not support the motion, saying the embargo “was right in principle.”

Russia imposed a year-long food embargo against a number of countries including the United States, members of the European Union (EU), Australia, Canada and Norway last August in a tit-for-tat measure after Western governments applied bans on Russian individuals and entities for its alleged involvement in the Ukraine crisis.

According to Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo, the EU has lost some USD 24 billion as of the beginning of February due to the Russian bans on meat, fish, poultry, fruit, vegetables and dairy products.

This is while the Western bans target Russia’s financial and energy sectors as well as a number of Russian nationals close to President Vladimir Putin.

The West accuses Moscow of having a hand in the crisis in eastern Ukraine, which erupted when Kiev launched military operations in mid-April last year to silence pro-Russia protests there. However, the Kremlin denies the accusation.

The fighting has left nearly 5,800 people dead, and some 14,000 others injured, according to the latest figures from the United Nations. Around 1.5 million people have been also forced from their homes over the past months of turmoil.


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