News / Europe

Russia Bans Import of Food From West in Response to Sanctions

Responding to Sanctions, Russia Bans Imports Of Food From Westi
Henry Ridgwell
August 08, 2014 1:19 AM
Russia has announced a ban on imports of food and agricultural products from the United States, Europe and other Western countries. It’s in retaliation for sanctions imposed by the West following Moscow’s forceful takeover of Crimea and continued support for pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine. Henry Ridgwell reports the Russian measures will hit both sides.
Henry Ridgwell

Russia has announced a ban on imports of food and agricultural products from the United States, Europe and other Western countries.  The ban is in retaliation for sanctions imposed by the West following Moscow’s forceful takeover of Crimea, and continued support for pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.  The Russian measures will impact both sides.

In a Cabinet meeting Thursday, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev announced the embargo.

"Russia is introducing a total ban on imports of beef, pork, fruit and vegetables, poultry, fish, cheese, milk and other dairy products from the European Union countries, the United States of America, Australia, Canada and the Kingdom of Norway," said  Medvedev.

Russia imported about $1.3 billion of food and agricultural products from the U.S. in 2013. It bought close to $16 billion in products from Europe.  Elizabeth Stephens is a London-based risk analyst.

“They’ll impact Europe far more than the U.S. With the U.S., it tends to focus on wheat and going back to the Cold War, even then at the height of the Cold War, the Americans still sold the Soviet Union wheat.  So this really is quite unprecedented," said Stephens.

With products like luxury meats and cheeses banned from import, Russia will also pay a high price, says Stephens.

“Many wealthy Muscovites like to have their Western agricultural products dressed up very prettily in the top shops in Moscow.  They theoretically will be leaving the shelves.  And inflation will kick in in Moscow.  It’s already at 7.9 percent.  Not importing from the West will leave a huge deficit," she said.


Top food suppliers for Russia
Top food suppliers for Russia


In Moscow stores, imported goods like French cheeses and Spanish fruit still line the shelves but may soon disappear.  Shoppers like Irina Kashkadova appeared to support the government’s stance.

"I don't think the Russian people will lose anything from this.  At the same time, Russia will develop its agriculture and make new trade links with other countries," said Kashkadova.

Moscow says the embargo is in retaliation for Western sanctions, which have targeted Russia’s banking, energy and defense sectors.

Visiting Kyiv Thursday, the U.S. State Department’s coordinator for sanctions policy, Daniel Fried, said Washington has plenty of scope to step up its measures.

“We are determined to do what we need to do to make the sanctions regime most effective and with always an eye on creating the conditions under which we can move the sanctions," said Fried.

The West’s sanctions are starting to impact Russia’s economy.  In recent days, several Russian tour companies have gone bankrupt - leaving thousands of holidaymakers stranded.  Moscow is mulling tax increases - but that could be counterproductive, says Alexei Devyatov, chief economist of Russia-based URALSIB Bank.


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Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
by: Reality
August 08, 2014 10:18 AM
If President Putin wishes to enhance his image and stature aborard
he must make informed decisions and act above reproach. The downing of the Malaysia aircraft, carried out by rogue elements needs to be addressed speedily. Only Russia can ensure their extradition and only Mr Putin can authorize this. The choice is his.

by: Anonymous from: Canada
August 07, 2014 7:53 PM
What interest US or Canada have in Ukraine? What this fuss all about? Freedom? Russia and Ukraine have the same level of freedom. Picking on Russia, West will lose a lot. Particulary dealing with Iran would be much more difficult without Russian support. EU will lose shortest route to Asia. Fighting terrorism is more important than Ukraine, and Russian support would be very important. And so on and on. Western politician show their ineptitude making boogyman of Putin.

by: Sunny Enwerem from: Lagos Nigeria
August 07, 2014 4:31 PM
The US and EU should help Russia increase its 1 year ban on its food export to 5 year to send a clearer message.

by: Ngoc Linh from: VietNam
August 07, 2014 2:22 PM
Well i dont believe the ban will be lasting for one year as they said. it will be rejected soon. Any way its good for Russia as well as the US, Europe...and many other countries to know that we cannot live without others.

by: Tatiana from: Moscow
August 07, 2014 12:42 PM
In General, the kind of perishable food was banned !!! It's good decision for our population. I do not think we can suffer much of it !!! All world knows about widely using genetically modified products in US. all long survival food like jam and canned products are possible for trade)))

by: Peter Wu from: canada
August 07, 2014 11:23 AM
Good job Russia! and no need to worry, China will provide you food you need. you provide us oil and gas, we supply you food and industrial products.
And China airline can carry all passengers between Europe and Asia.
Russia China together we can destroy any evil enemies!
In Response

by: peter wu from: canada
August 08, 2014 10:23 AM
@captbilly, well if you goto your groceries you should see many food imported from China, at least in Canada its true.
In Metro, Provigo, I see many fruit, vegis, rice and noddles imported from China and they are popular here in Canada.
@Chuck p, yes I am proud of my country and I love China, but I like Canada too. Canada has fewer ppl than China, Canada has better quality than China too. I believe its healthier living here, lol
you know I like it so I take it!
In Response

by: captbilly from: Earth
August 07, 2014 8:00 PM
Even people in China don't want to eat food from China. When I was in Hong Kong about a year ago there were mainland Chinese buying baby food from the West because they didn't trust any baby food from China. The adults just accepted the fact that their own food was polluted.
In Response

by: Chuck p from: waterloo
August 07, 2014 7:19 PM
Really Wu? Why are you here? Russia and China are your true loyalty?

China is only a plane ride away.

by: Mark from: NYC
August 07, 2014 11:16 AM
Maybe the story's title should be: "Russia Imposes Sanctions on Self, Limits What People Can Eat"

Meanwhile, at the Kremlin...
Dmitry: Stock are getting low, Vlady.
Vladimir: What's left?
Dmitry: three potatoes, a cabbage, and some Cup of Borchst packages.

by: Max from: Singapore
August 07, 2014 10:58 AM
A hunger strike. Interesting.

by: Gennady from: Russia, Volga Region
August 07, 2014 8:51 AM
The VOA will be frustrated to read my opinion. I bet my opinion will not be published as usual, but personally, I do not see a tragedy in the food embargo when Russia’s state interests are at stake. Even more, the embargo will be beneficial in the long run, it will give an impetus to revive Russia’s own food production, will repress corruption connected with the foods industry, will diminish the threat of food overconsumption and related with it obesity epidemics. The embargo will enhance Russia’s psyche, national idea, will boost national pride. It will canonize President Putin’s name forever making him as one of our greatest sons.
In Response

by: Chuck P from: Waterloo
August 07, 2014 7:23 PM
Go ahead, become more self reliant, However, the tradition of corruption will be applied to local foods as well. Sorry.

by: Mostor from: Ukraine
August 07, 2014 8:38 AM
oh please... its like a really stupid Arab Hamas/Al Qaida prisoner in Guantanamo refusing to eat... hey Russia, banning subsidized food imports from West will reduce your population to eating mud - like N. Korea. Now, to get out of Ukraine - go invade Georgia or Chechnya... or some other filthy stinking place like China.
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