Russia to ease ban on food exports from three EU countries

Moscow prepares to allow companies from Hungary, Greece and Greek Cypriots to export food after it orders to abolish food embargo on EU countries

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Russian authorities are very likely to abolish food embargo over 20 countries from Hungary, Greece and Greek Cypriots as they prepare to lift ban on food exports from the European Union countries, a Russian senior official was quoted to have said by the Interfax agency on Tuesday.

The head of Russia's federal veterinary service, Sergei Dankvert said Moscow might allow 15 companies from Hungary as well as several others from Greece and Greek Cypriots to export food into the Russian market, according to the Interfax report.

In retaliation to the EU and US orchestrated sanctions following the Ukraine crisis, Russia had limited the importation of most of food products from the EU countries  together with the US.

But, Moscow’s move has also hit back food prices in the country since then as its national currency rouble underwent into crisis against Western currencies at the end of the last year.

The respective countries have been maintaining cordial relations with Moscow though the EU has imposed sanctions in the wake of annexation of Crimea and separatist war in east Ukraine.

Greece, Hungary and Greek Cypriots are known for their neutral stances towards the secession of Crimea and Russia’s alleged role and support in the Donbass region.

Brussels voiced up its discontent with the issue since the leaderships in those countries were seeking to increase political and commercial ties with the Kremlin following the 2008 eurozone crisis which severely hit the markets of three EU countries.

Dankvert stated that Russia was eager to negotiate food exports with some eastern European countries like Poland and the Baltic republics, but it was the EU to have scuppered previous bilateral talks between the parties, the Interfax cited him as saying.

Russia’s ban on food deliveries, which is believed to have affected 9 billion dollars worth of exports from the EU countries, is believed to have completely lifted on Aug. 7, almost a year after it was put into force.

Russian President Vladimir Putin had signalled that food export ban could be lifted on Athens last month when the newly-elected Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras paid an official visit to Moscow.

Putin also pledged to abolish such food ban on Hungary as the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban once described the sanctions on Russia as being "shooting itself in the foot."

Russia insists that the Western sanctions must be lifted since Moscow convinced the separatists in eastern Ukraine to abide by the Mink Peace Protocol agreed in the middle of February.

However the EU countries want Moscow to fulfill all requirements with regard to the Minsk Agreement which also calls Russia to show respect to Ukraine’s territorial integrity.

TRTWorld and agencies