Putin Bans More Food Imports in Retaliation for Sanctions

Russia President Vladimir Putin responds to Western sanctions with a call for import bans of his own. 

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Russian President Vladimir Putin appears to be seeking his own brand of economic retribution against Western countries, by issuing an executive order Wednesday banning a broad range food and agriculture products from countries that have imposed sanctions against Russia over the crisis in the Ukraine.

The retaliatory measure comes one day after Putin called for wider sanctions against Western countries that have asserted sanctions as punishment for Russia's support of separatist rebels in Ukraine.

"The political tools of economic pressure are unacceptable and run counter to all norms and rules," said Putin, according to Russian media on Tuesday.

Following the newest round of sanctions imposed on Russia by the United States and the European Union last month, it appeared that Russia would not be looking for a tit-for-tat scenario. "We're not preparing to act on the principle of 'an eye for an eye,'" said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, in a news conference at the time. 

However, Putin's executive order Wednesday clearly takes aim at "countries that have decided to impose economic sanctions on Russian legal entities."

Russian state bodies of power, federal authorities, local self-government bodies, legal entities established in accordance with Russian law, and physical individuals under Russian jurisdiction shall, in carrying out their activities, respect for a duration of one year following this Executive Order’s entry into force a ban or restriction on foreign economic operations involving the import to Russia of particular kinds of agricultural produce, raw materials and foodstuffs originating in countries that have decided to impose economic sanctions on Russian legal entities and/or physical individuals, or have joined such decisions. 

On Wednesday, Russia announced its suspension on the importing of Romanian beef and cattle, citing mad cow disease. That's the newest in a round of bans that already includes Polish apples and Australian beef, among others, often justified under dubious health concerns.

An extensive list of products that could be banned is being prepared by Russian ministers and could be revealed as early as Thursday.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.