Putin orders import limits over sanctions

Moscow - President Vladimir Putin has ordered government agencies to restrict imports of food and agricultural products from the countries that have imposed sanctions against Russia over the conflict in Ukraine.

The text of Putin's decree released by the Kremlin on Wednesday says that such imports will be "banned or limited" for one year. The decree doesn't name any specific countries or products, but contains an order to government agencies to spell them out.

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 US 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 $1bn annually in recent years and in 2013 the EU's agricultural exports to Russia totaled €11.8bn.

The order says the limits are being imposed "with the goal of guaranteeing the security of the Russian Federation" and calls for undertaking measures to guard against quick price hikes. Both those clauses appeared to indicate that the scope of the measures wouldn't be wide.

Putin's order appears to show that Russia, although increasingly suffering the effects of Western sanctions, is disinclined to back down on Ukraine.

Russia denies allegations that it is supporting the Ukrainian rebels or supplying them with equipment and has rejected claims that its artillery has been firing from across the border.

As tensions over Ukraine rise, a respected newspaper this week cited unnamed sources as saying Russia is considering closing its airspace to European carriers flying to Asia. The report sent the stocks of some airlines sharply lower.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Wednesday said he wouldn't comment on "rumors" of airspace being closed, but said "our Western partners should think about their companies and their citizens", the Interfax news agency reported.

Russia last week banned the import of apples and some other fruits from Poland, saying this was because of sanitary concerns, but raising speculation that the move was in retaliation for Poland's support of the Ukrainian authorities.

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Ayanda Ntsho 2014/08/06 09:05:05 PM
Then there should be sanctions against the US, UK and everyone else who is supplying apartheid Israel with arms! US and Europe are not qualified and have no authority to speak on the Ukraine/Russia impasse!
On The Edge 2014/08/06 10:04:03 PM
What Russia is doing in the Ukraine is a big fat no-no as are the sanctions as it will only alienate and worsen matters further... But asnif to stand on neutral ground, if I was Putin, I'd month exact same thing cause theirs is a thriving economy that surely supports many exporters...
On The Edge 2014/08/06 10:06:16 PM
Corrections: asnif is meant to read 'as if' while month should read 'do the'! Apologies...
Hauke Liefferink 2014/08/06 10:28:54 PM
Ok this spat is good. We'll send you all our fruit with the so called "black spot disease" that the EU has found a loophole for to enforce proctectionist policies. Also start drinking our wine. Russia could be a big market for us.
nelio 2014/08/06 10:35:55 PM
Zuma should grab this opportunity for SA to export to Russia....
Kobus Hattingh 2014/08/06 10:37:36 PM
Standing strong Russia.
Makhulu Zulu 2014/08/06 11:04:16 PM
I love Putin. I love Russia. F U USA. Where's your sanctions on Israel. The power is in our hands. Minimize your spend on USA and Israeli goods.
Abdul Matemba 2014/08/06 11:13:29 PM
putin is smart..he is a world class politician,billionaire bussiness man and military veteran.unlike obama is a weak and unpopular,a puppet of netanyahu,john mccain and lindsay graham.europe will obviously obey america since its economy is hanging in the balance thanx to Angella merkel it could 've been shrunk by now.sanction??? Oh please.. who imposed sanctions on US when it helped to form muhajidin and taliban who later formed al qaeda,donate 3.2 billion to israel to murder 1.9 thousand palestian in gaza within 3weeks.support poroshenko to kill 1.1 thousand civillians in the east.armed rebels to oust legitimate and stable government of gaddaf in the end destabilise the nation.fund the rebels in syria who are more aggressive than assad,went for war in afghanistan and iraq in the name of war on terror ' sorry maybe a failed war on terror' but they fund terrorim,mossad,Idf,M16 and CIA which works with terrorists.US and UK threatens with sanctions to whosoever have a different view and dont like who dont obey them like china,north korea,Iran,Russia,cuba,venezuela,bolivia.and the UK kkkkkkk shame cameron...give him a break he is just obama and merkel's tea boy...
Billy Hewie 2014/08/07 01:45:05 AM
Russia has banned apple imports from Poland, The Poles have taken to social media poking fun at the Russians. But considering 50% of polish apples go to Russia, I don't think they will laugh for too long, That is just one Market that will take a hit. I predict we will soon see a rift in Europes policy towards Russia, split by the old Iron curtain,Europe will blink first........ Oops Europe, did you not realize the Russians can sanction too.
Chris Du Preez 2014/08/07 05:38:29 AM
Sanctions can only work against poorer nations that can not support itself. In a 5 year cycle it will actually benefit a country like Russia and strengthen its position strategically, it's economy will be less indebted, and the dollar as international currency will be less desirable. If the west want to hurt Russia the only way is to drop the oil price, because oil is Russia's major export. That is what reason did in the 80's