EDINBURGH, October 3 (RIA Novosti), Mark Hirst – Scottish ministers support EU anti-Russia sanctions, which they believe represent the member-states' uniform stance on the issue, Esther Hutcheson, a spokesperson for the Scottish Government's External Affairs Department told RIA Novosti Friday.
"We have made our concerns about the situation in Ukraine clear and we fully support EU sanctions against Russia," Hutcheson said, adding that "These sanctions are an important statement of the EU's unity on this issue."
The statement was made in response to US Vice President Joe Biden's earlier claim, suggesting that the United States forced the EU to introduce restrictive measures against Moscow.
Hutcheson also noted that the Scottish Government is currently looking for alternative markets for Scottish fish producers, who have been hard-hit by the food import ban imposed by Russia on a number of countries in response to Western sanctions.
"The Scottish pelagic fish industry is a very successful sector, used to adapting to changes in market conditions and with great experience exporting to a wide range of markets," Hutcheson said.
"We continue to work closely with them on a range of options, including finding new market opportunities, in order to protect both the catching and processing sectors from any significant impact," the spokesperson added.
In August, Bertie Armstrong, chief executive of the Scottish Fishermen's Federation warned in an interview with RIA Novosti that "the denial of access [to the Russian market] would have extremely serious implications for both [Scottish] mackerel fishermen and the onshore processing sector."
$72million (£45million) of food and drink are annually exported to Russia from Scotland, with around $35 (£22million) worth of food products currently being affected by the Russian sanctions. The Scottish mackerel industry has been affected by Russia's reciprocal measures the most.