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    Russian Restrictions on Imports Unlikely to Affect EU Stance on Ukraine - Diplomat

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    Russia’s restrictive measures on imports of agricultural products in retaliation to Western sanctions are unlikely to affect the European Union’s stance on the Ukrainian crisis, EU Ambassador to Russia Vygaudas Usackas told RIA Novosti Wednesday.

    MOSCOW, August 6 (RIA Novosti) — Russia’s restrictive measures on imports of agricultural products in retaliation to Western sanctions are unlikely to affect the European Union’s stance on the Ukrainian crisis, EU Ambassador to Russia Vygaudas Usackas told RIA Novosti Wednesday.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree earlier on Wednesday banning imports of agricultural and food products from countries that imposed sanctions on Russia for one year.

    “No, this will have no impact,” Usackas said in comments on the move, adding that the issue of sanctions in not really important in the Russia-EU relations.

    “It is evident that we won’t resolve the problem by sanctions and rebuild trust between partners,” Usackas added.

    The diplomat also stressed that these relations should respect international as well as trade rules.

    “We have faced much more significant and threshold issues that we have to solve as soon as possible,” he said.

    Usackas raised hope that leaders will show their “political will for joint steps to deescalate the situation in Ukraine.”

    “Now it is too early to assess the consequences of this decree, but I hope that the Russian side will build its relations with the world by respecting international norms both in respect to common neighbors and the World Trade Organization,” he said.

    The head of a department for trade negotiations at the Russian Ministry of Economic Development, Maksim Medvedkov, told RIA Novosti Wednesday that Russia’s restrictions on imports are not violating the WTO rules.

    The European Union, the United States, Canada and Japan have compiled sanctions lists against Russian companies, banks, politicians, freezing their bank accounts, banning them entry and refusing to buy Russian goods. The move has been linked to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

    Since March, the European Union has imposed a total of nine rounds of sanctions, with two of them against the former Ukrainian leadership and seven against Russia. Washington has adopted a total of six rounds of anti-Russian sanctions.

    Moscow has repeatedly called the measures counterproductive and stressed that Russia is not involved in the Ukrainian conflict.

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