"The restrictions imposed by the European Union and the Russian retaliatory measures, of course, inflicted significant damage on our relations. It has been estimated that the direct damages to the French pig-breeding industry, as of the middle of 2015, were 100 million euros [$113 million], to fruit and vegetable producers — 50 million euros, dairy products — over 109 million euros. The overall French losses could reach several billion euros and 160, 000 jobs," Alexander Orlov told RIA Novosti in an interview.
In the first three quarters of 2015, bilateral trade compared to the same period in 2014 decreased by almost 42 percent, dropping to $7.5 billion dollars, he stated.
The diplomat noted that the sanctions were not the only reason for such a sharp drop in trade. Lower prices for raw materials and energy resources also negatively affected trade indices.
"The sanctions in the financial sector, depriving the French business of opportunities to obtain loans to finance projects in Russia are still a serious obstacle. Moreover, French banks, out of fear of being hit by extraterritorial US justice, often do not dare to process operations in areas that are not even subjected to sanctions. Together with our French partners we are looking for ways to minimize these restrictions," Orlov explained.
Russia has denied the allegations and, in August 2014, in response to the Western restrictive measures, Moscow announced a one-year food embargo on products originating in states that imposed sanctions against it. The ban has since been prolonged.