Russia to 'Plug Holes' in Ban on Food Imports From EU

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Imported products from third countries will be checked very strictly in order to “plug all the holes” in the barriers Russia has introduced to stop imports from the European Union in response to Western sanctions, Russia's Agriculture Minister assured.

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MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Russia will make demands stricter on the rules of food products from third countries in line with the current import bans to "plug all the holes" of illegal imports from the European Union, Russian Agriculture Minister Alexander Tkachev said Wednesday.

"The [import] list is currently being discussed and I assume that it won’t be enlarged. We will most likely make certain corrections and specifications with the goal to prevent products from countries supporting [economic] sanctions against Russia, so that they in no way can squeeze through holes or schemes from third countries into the Russian territory," Tkachev said on Rossiya-24 television.

On Monday, the European Union extended the sanctions against Russia for its alleged role in the Ukrainian crisis for six more months. The restrictions, originally imposed in 2014, target Russia’s defense, banking and energy sectors, as well as several individuals.

Moscow has repeatedly stated that it was not involved in the armed conflict in Ukraine, and imposed a year-long food embargo against the countries that sanctioned Russia last August.

According to Natalya Timakova, the press secretary of the Russian prime minister, the government submitted a proposal on extending the food import embargo on Monday.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Tuesday that the decision on extending the embargo was likely to be taken swiftly.

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