Russia warns it could ban more foods

Russia, which has been squashing brie and other banned Western foods, may have to rev up the bulldozers again to keep pace with a growing list of prohibited imports.

Russians are already deprived of Western cheese, milk, fruits and meats, but Moscow is looking to add more items to the list of banned food imports.

The Kremlin has warned that it is considering also banning food imports from Montenegro, Albania, Iceland, Lichtenstein, Ukraine, and Georgia because they support Western sanctions imposed on Russia. Those sanctions were imposed because of Russia’s involvement in the crisis in Ukraine.

“Everyone who applies sanctions against us must face the appropriate responses, food embargo,” Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich told reporters in Moscow.

The Russian government has not revealed which items could be included on the new list.

Moscow banned most food imports from the U.S., European Union, Canada, Australia, and other countries last year, in retaliation for the Western sanctions. In recent weeks, Russian officials have used bulldozers and other methods to destroy illegally imported food.

Russian consumers are feeling the pain. The embargo pushed food prices in Russia up 20% in the year to July, according to official data. But the E.U. is also hurting. Russia was one of the most important markets for European farmers. Total exports of food and agricultural products to Russia were worth $13 billion in 2013. The EU is trying to compensate its farmers. It has already spent around $170 million paying farmers to give away or destroy produce to stop prices from collapsing.

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