In a move that will have major implications for the international trade in fresh fruit and vegetables, Russia has said it will impose a sweeping ban on agricultural products imported from the EU and the US, a retaliatory measure designed to hit back at the economic sanctions imposed by its targets in the wake of the MH17 disaster.
Furthermore, following the grounding of national airline Aeroflot’s budget subsidiary Dobrolet earlier this week, the country looks set to introduce a ban on European airlines flying over its airspace to Asia.
A decree issued by the Kremlin indicated that Russian government officials had been tasked with drawing up a list of agricultural products that will be banned or restricted for 12 months. According to the Vedomosti newspaper, that list will include fruit and vegetables as well as meat.
Russia’s decision will be met with dismay among its major international fresh produce suppliers, including Poland, Netherlands, France, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Greece and the US.
On 1 August, Russia banned several Polish products including apples, pears, stonefruit and brassicas following what its federal veterinary and phytosanitary control agency Rosselkhoznadzor described as “systematic violations of international and Russian phytosanitary requirements”.