Sunday

17th Feb 2019

Russia threatens to go beyond EU food ban in sanctions war

  • Russia has already slapped a ban on food imported from the EU (Photo: malyousif)

The Russian government may expand its economic sanctions against the west, as its diplomatic stand-off over the Ukraine crisis intensifies.

At a meeting of Vladimir Putin’s ministers on Thursday (7 August), prime minister Dimitry Medvedev stated that the government was considering a ban on flights from Europe and the US travelling through its airspace.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

A ban would force carriers to use more fuel to reach destinations using longer flight paths to avoid Russian territory and would hit major European airlines such as British Airways, Lufthansa and Air France.

Moscow is also considering whether to expand its sanctions to the aviation, shipbuilding and automobile sectors.

Earlier, the Russian government drew up a list of agricultural products and raw materials from the EU, as well as the US, Canada, Norway and Australia, that will be banned for one year - a tit-for-tat response to broad economic sanctions recently imposed on Russia by the European Union.

Figures from the EU’s statistical agency Eurostat suggest that the move will cost Europe, which provides over 40 percent of Russia’s food imports, more than €12 billion in lost exports.

Under the bloc’s common agricultural policy, the European Commission has a €420m cash reserve that could be used to compensate farmers and has indicated that it stands ready to offer further support to its farming sector if needed.

"Until the last moment, we hoped that our foreign colleagues would realise that sanctions lead to a blind alley, and that no one benefits from them. But they didn't realise this, and now we have been forced to respond," said Medvedev.

For its part, the EU’s so-called ‘stage three’ sanctions ban financial instruments by Russian-state-owned banks, enacted a non-retroactive arms embargo, and impose export limitations on dual-use technologies.

The move was made last week in response to Moscow's support for eastern separatists in Ukraine, which western leaders hold responsible for shooting down Malaysian airlines flight MH17 last month, killing all its passengers.

Meanwhile, NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen during a visit to Ukraine on Thursday urged Russia to "step back from the brink" of war by pulling its troops back from the Ukrainian border.

Rasmussen, which has warned that Russia has massed around 20,000 troops close to the border ahead of a possible direct intervention, called on Moscow to “not use peacekeeping as an excuse for warmaking”.

Russia imposes retaliatory sanctions on EU

Moscow is slapping a ban on EU-imported fruit and vegetables and food from the US in retaliation for western economic sanctions. Meanwhile, 20,000 Russian soldiers are stationed on the Ukraine border.

Russia in sanction threat against EU

Russia may restrict or impose a ban on Asian-bound European airlines from flying over its Siberian territory as part of a retaliatory move against western-imposed sanctions.

News in Brief

  1. Spain's Sanchez calls snap election on 28 April
  2. 15,000 Belgian school kids march against climate change
  3. May suffers fresh Brexit defeat in parliament
  4. Warning for British banks over Brexit staff relocation
  5. Former Italian PM wants Merkel for top EU post
  6. Antisemitic incidents up 10% in Germany
  7. Italy's asylum rejection rate at record high
  8. Hungary will not claim EU funds for fraudulent project

Agenda

Brexit and trip to Egypt for Arab League This WEEK

Brexit talks will continue in Brussels, as UK PM Theresa May's government is trying to find a way out of the political impasse at home. Murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi's fiancee will speak at the European Parliament next week.

Saudis paying College of Europe to lobby MEPs

The Bruges-based College of Europe is setting up private meetings with the EU institutions for seven ambassadors plus seven high-level officials from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceEU bank urged to free itself from fossil fuels and take climate leadership
  2. Intercultural Dialogue PlatformRoundtable: Muslim Heresy and the Politics of Human Rights, Dr. Matthew J. Nelson
  3. Platform for Peace and JusticeTurkey suffering from the lack of the rule of law
  4. UNESDASoft Drinks Europe welcomes Tim Brett as its new president
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers take the lead in combatting climate change
  6. Counter BalanceEuropean Parliament takes incoherent steps on climate in future EU investments
  7. International Partnership For Human RightsKyrgyz authorities have to immediately release human rights defender Azimjon Askarov
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersSeminar on disability and user involvement
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersInternational appetite for Nordic food policies
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Nordic Innovation House in Hong Kong
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region has chance to become world leader when it comes to start-ups
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”

Latest News

  1. Sluggish procedure against Hungary back on table
  2. Could Finnish presidency fix labour-chain abuse?
  3. Brexit and trip to Egypt for Arab League This WEEK
  4. Belgian spy scandal puts EU and Nato at risk
  5. EU Parliament demands Saudi lobby transparency
  6. Saudi Arabia, but not Russia, on EU 'dirty money' list
  7. EU agrees draft copyright reform, riling tech giants
  8. Rutte warns EU to embrace 'Realpolitik' foreign policy

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us