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Russia extends embargo of EU food products to end of 2018

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Russia has prolonged its embargo of agricultural goods from the European Union until the end of 2018, following the EU's announcement it would extend economic sanctions.

In a meeting in Brussels last month, European Union leaders formally extended the sanctions on Russia, limiting business with Russian energy, defence and financial sectors until 31 January 2018.

The sanctions prevent European firms from doing business with or investing in Russia's defence and energy industries with financial transactions also severely limited.

The Kremlin responded by extending its embargo on food and agricultural products, including fresh fruit and vegetables, dairy  and meat products, from EU countries, the USA, Australia and others to 31 December 2018.

The Russian minister of agriculture, Alexander Tkachev, told the state-run news agency Tass: "We hope that the food embargo will further stimulate the production and not be limited to 2018. We expect the boycott to remain in force until 2020," said the minister to the Russian press office.

The embargo on food and agriculture products has been in place since 2014, since the EU imposed sanctions against Russia over its involvement in the Ukraine conflict.

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