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Russia to halt U.S. agricultural imports in sanctions dispute

Russian President Vladimir Putin.Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has responded to recent economic sanctions against his country by blocking U.S. agricultural imports.

Putin announced the sanctions on Wednesday, but a full list of products to be banned, or limited, for the next 12 months, including products from Australia, Canada, the U.S., the European Union and Norway, was published on Thursday. They include cattle meat, pork, poultry, salted, dried or smoked meat, fish, shellfish, scallops, milk and other dairy products, along with most vegetables, fruit and nuts.

Interestingly, there are some exceptions to the items above. For example, live animals, lamb and horse meat are still able to be brought in, according to The Financial Times. Eggs and honey can also be imported, along with spices and grains.

On Wednesday, the state news agency RIA Novosti quoted Alexi Alexeenko, who works for Russia’s plant and veterinary oversight service, as saying that all U.S. agricultural products will be “prohibited.” He also said that produce from the European Union would be banned.

Putin’s decision comes a week after the U.S. and the EU launched another round of sanctions against Russia over the conflict in Ukraine. Those sanctions involved cutting off the energy, finance and defense sectors from doing business with American companies.

“Retaliating against Western companies or countries will deepen Russia’s international isolation, causing further damage to its own economy,” according to White House spokeswoman Laura Lucas Magnuson.

Last year, the U.S. exported $1.3 billion in agricultural and food products to Russia, with chicken accounting for $300 million, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. For the EU, the total amount of agricultural and food products sent to Russia was $15.8 billion.

The U.S. also exports soybeans, tree nuts, tobacco and prepared foods to Russia.