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    Meat of an Issue: Ukraine Major Importer of Russian Products Despite Kiev's Ban

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    Ukraine has become the largest importer of meat and beer from Russia, according to the latest statistics from Russia's Federal Customs Service. And while many experts believe this is due to supplies being shipped specifically to the Donbass region, economist Viktor Efimov explained to Radio Sputnik why it can't be the only reason.

    Despite its staunch advocacy of sanctions against Moscow, Ukraine has become the major importer of meat and beer from Russia, Russia's Vedomosti newspaper reported on Monday.

    Citing the latest statistics of Russia's Federal Customs Service, the outlet reported that in 2016, the deliveries of Russian meat and beer to Ukraine amounted to 47,893 tonnes, which accounted for 30 per cent of the total Russian export of these products, regardless Kiev's ban on the import of Russian food, alcohol and dairy products.

    AB InBev brewery in Ivanovo Region
    © Sputnik / Varvara Gert'e
    AB InBev brewery in Ivanovo Region

    Ukraine therefore has become the largest consumer of the above products, leaving Kazakhstan behind as the second-largest importer.
    The statistics is furthermore surprising, the newspaper says, as back in 2015, Kiev banned the import of Russian food, alcohol and dairy products in response to a Russian embargo on Ukrainian goods.

    The outlet has talked to a number of representatives of Russian trade and industrial companies who suggested that it is due to supplies being shipped specifically to the Donbass region. Meanwhile a representative of the Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine was unable to explain the increased dynamics of Russian food supplies to his country.

    Radio Sputnik meanwhile talked to Doctor of Economics, Professor Viktor Efimov, who explained why the provided data could not be explained only by the increased deliveries to Donbass.

    "There is no verified data about the specific deliveries but I rule out that it is only to the Donbass region," he told Sputnik.

    He further explained that food supplies nevertheless remain an issue of primary importance where the politics quickly stands down.

    "I think that Ukraine has simply been carried away too much with its political playing, thus what should have happened sooner or later, has happened right now. Ukraine has worn itself out to such a state when normal human wants start altering the political line of a country," the economist said, adding that in response to Kiev's food embargo, the country is pursuing precisely the opposite.

    Viktor Efimov said that it is Ukraine which is cornering its own economy.

    "With their absurd political action the Kiev authorities are cornering the country's own economy. Russia has remained the only steady guaranteed market for Ukraine which it is currently cutting out," he noted.

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