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Russian president extends food counter-sanctions against US, EU, allies until end of 2020

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Russian President Vladimir Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin has extended a ban by Moscow on food product imports from the United States, the European Union and allies until the end of 2020, continuing its retaliation against the sanctions imposed on Russia over Ukraine.

On Monday, the Russian leader signed a decree, a copy of which was posted on the official portal of legal information, extending an embargo on Western produce, dairy, meat and most other foods until December 31, 2020, Russia's TASS news agency reported.

The new retaliatory measures have already entered into force, the report added.

Putin signed an additional document, which changes the norms of the original decree on counter-sanctions dated August 6, 2014, TASS further said.

The retaliatory move is “to extend from January 1 to December 31, 2020 the operation of certain special economic measures stipulated by the presidential decree of August 6, 2014,” the document read.

Some five years ago, Moscow banned imports of certain agricultural products, raw materials and foodstuffs from Western countries that slapped Russia with sanctions. They include the US, the EU, Canada, Australia, Norway, Iceland, Albania, Montenegro, Liechtenstein, and Ukraine.

The punitive embargoes were put in place in response to the US and the EU economic sanctions over Moscow’s alleged role in reunification of the Crimea with Russia and its purported involvement in the military conflict in eastern Ukraine, allegations strongly rejected by Russia. The sanctions targeted finance, energy and defense sectors of the Russian economy.

Relations between Moscow and the West have deteriorated since 2014, when Crimea rejoined Russia following a referendum where more than 90 percent of participants voted in favor of the move. The West brands the reunification as annexation of Ukrainian land by Russia.

In siding with Ukraine, the EU, and some other Western countries have followed Washington's lead in leveling several rounds of sanctions against the Moscow.

Sanctions and counter-sanctions have been prolonged and extended during the past five years, despite proving ineffective and harmful to the sides. On Thursday, the EU extended its economic sanctions against Moscow for another year.

Last week, Putin said that Western economic restrictions have deprived the Russian economy of $50 billion while the EU has lost $240 billion.

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