Russia narrows ban on re-exporting foods through European countries

Russia tightens restrictions of re-exportation of fruits and vegetables from European Union countries as sanctions continue to hurt its economy.

Updated Jul 28, 2015

The deputy head of agricultural regulator of the Russian Federation, Yulia Shvabauskene has said Moscow has already halted re-export of foods from EU countries, most particularly through Bulgaria.

Shvabauskene stated that the countries like Bulgaria, which were not affected by the import bans, and companies were using false documents to by-pass Russia’s food ban, by labelling the EU food products as if they are coming from countries unaffected by the ban.

In retaliation to the EU and U.S. orchestrated sanctions, Russia had limited the importation of most of food products from the EU countries together with the U.S.

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 last year.

Shvabauskene underlined that new restrictions regarding the countries like Bulgaria were "just the start," by adding the Kremlin was "examining the option of not accepting any European re-export certificates at all," according to Russian Itar Tass Agency.

Most recently Russian President Vladimir Putin had eased ban on food imports from Greece as the newly-elected Socialist Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras paid an official trip to Moscow.

Russia insists that the Western sanctions must be lifted since Moscow convinced the separatists in East 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.

German chancellor Angela Merkel reiterated the EU’s position on Monday in a joint news conference with Polish Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz in Warsaw and said, "During the European Council [meeting] in March we took an unambiguous decision that the sanctions were related to completing the Minsk agreements."

TRTWorld and agencies