12:54 GMT +325 September 2017

    EU Reserves Right to Respond to Russia’s Food Embargo

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    The European Commission "reserves the right to take action" over Russia’s embargo on agricultural products, spokesman Frederic Vincent said Thursday.

    BRUSSELS, August 7 (RIA Novosti) — The European Commission "reserves the right to take action" over Russia’s embargo on agricultural products, spokesman Frederic Vincent said Thursday.

    "The European Union regrets the announcement by the Russian Federation of measures, which will target imports of food and agricultural products. This announcement is clearly politically motivated," he told reporters.

    "Following full assessment by the Commission of the Russian Federation’s measures, we reserve the right to take action as appropriate," the spokesman continued.

    Vincent said it was too early to speak about the possibility of compensating losses sustained by EU member states as a result of the embargo.

    "The Commission will assess the measures in question as soon as we have more information as to their full content and extent," he said.

    On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin singed an order on economic measures to protect the country’s security. The decree banned for a year imports of agricultural and food products from countries that have imposed sanctions on Russia.

    The list of the banned agricultural products includes meat, poultry and milk products as well as fruits and vegetables from the United States, the European Union, Canada, Australia and Norway. The embargo does not include infant foods and goods.

    The Russian sanctions came as a response to the latest Western restrictions on the country’s economic, defense and energy sectors, as well as dozens of individuals.

    At the height of the Ukrainian crisis, the United States imposed several rounds of sanctions against Russian officials, business people and companies and pressed for the allies in the West to follow its lead. The European Union, Switzerland, Canada, Australia and Japan soon caved in to the US sanctions push and drew up their own blacklists.

    Since Crimea reunited with Russia in 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.

    "We underline that the European Union's restrictive measures are directly linked with the illegal annexation of Crimea and destabilization of Ukraine. The European Union remains committed to de-escalating the situation in Ukraine. All should join in this effort," Vincent said.

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

    European Union, European Commission, imports, food, embargo, sanctions
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