Russia bans agricultural products and fish from US, EU, Australia, Canada, Norway

Russia has banned imports of food from countries that imposed sanctions over its support for rebels in Ukraine.

Russia will ban fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, milk and dairy imports from the United States, the European Union, Australia, Canada and Norway, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev told a government meeting on Thursday, according to a report by the Reuters news agency.

The agency said that the decision follows a decree signed by President Vladimir Putin ordering the government to ban or limit food imports from countries that imposed sanctions on Moscow for its support of rebels in eastern Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea.

“There is nothing good in sanctions and it wasn’t an easy decision to take, but we had to do it,” Medvedev said.

Russia is Europe’s second-largest market for food and drink and has been an important consumer of Polish pig meat and Dutch fruit and vegetables, Reuters said. Exports of food and raw materials to Russia were worth €12.2bn (£9.7bn) in 2013, following several years of double-digit growth.

Reuters reckons the UK is less likely to lose out; in 2013 its biggest food and drink export was £17m of frozen fish, followed by £5.7m of cheese and £5.3m of coffee.

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