MOSCOW: Russian President Vladimir Putin has extended a ban on Western food imports for another 18 months after the European Union’s decision to prolong its broader, punitive sanctions over Russia’s actions in Ukraine.
Putin’s Thursday decree keeps the food ban in place until Dec. 31, 2019. It follows the EU’s move to extend its restrictions until year’s end.
The US and the EU introduced several rounds of sanctions to punish Russia for the annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea and support for separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine. They made lifting restrictions contingent on the progress of a 2015 peace deal for eastern Ukraine. Russia argues that the peace agreement has floundered at Ukraine’s fault.
The sanctions have hurt the Russian economy, restricting access to global financial markets and cutting imports of key technologies.