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Iran Press TV

Russia to introduce food embargo against Ukraine due to Kiev-EU trade deal

Iran Press TV

Mon Dec 21, 2015 1:57PM

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev says Moscow will introduce a food embargo against Ukraine due to Kiev's trade deal with the European Union (EU).

Medvedev said at a government meeting on Monday that the embargo will take effect next month. The ban is an extension to the punitive measures Russia has already imposed on Western countries.

'These measures will be extended to Ukraine too. I have just signed the relevant decree," he said.

Ukraine and the EU agreed in November to launch an EU-Ukrainian free trade zone on January 1.

The deal, however, received objections in Moscow. Russia says the free trade deal will open Ukraine's market to European goods, which could result in a flood of European imports across its borders and damage the competitiveness of Russian exports to Ukraine.

'We must protect our market and our producers and to prevent import of products masked as Ukrainian that are from other countries,' Medvedev said at the meeting.

'There have been several rounds of talks. They did not bring any result. Neither Ukraine nor the European Union are ready to sign a legally binding agreement which would take into account Russia's interests,' he added.

Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin suspended an agreement on a free trade zone with Ukraine as of January 1 'due to exceptional circumstances which impact the interests and economic security of the Russian Federation.'

The free trade zone was set up between the former Soviet Union countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States -- comprising all ex-Soviet republics except the Baltic states and Georgia -- in October 2011.

Russia imposed a ban on agricultural products of the EU and some other countries, including the US, in 2014 in response to Western sanctions against Moscow over the Ukrainian crisis. Moscow has also issued a blacklist of politicians from the 28-nation EU bloc, barring them from traveling to the Russian Federation.

Moscow's relations with the West and Kiev have been strained since Ukraine's Black Sea peninsula of Crimea rejoined the Russian Federation following a referendum in March 2014.

Ties soured further after Ukraine launched military operations in April 2014 to quell pro-Russia forces in the country's eastern regions of Donetsk and Lugansk.

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