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Russia retaliates against West

  • Women choose Dutch tomatoes at a supermarket in downtown Moscow on Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014. The Russian government has banned all imports of meat, fish, milk and milk products and fruit and vegetables from the United States, the European Union, Australia, Canada and Norway, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev announced Thursday. The move was taken on orders from President Vladimir Putin in response to sanctions imposed on Russia by the West over the crisis in Ukraine. The ban has been introduced for one year. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

    Women choose Dutch tomatoes at a supermarket in downtown Moscow on Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014. The Russian government has banned all imports of meat, fish, milk and milk products and fruit and vegetables from the United States, the European Union, Australia, Canada and Norway, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev announced Thursday. The move was taken on orders from President Vladimir Putin in response to sanctions imposed on Russia by the West over the crisis in Ukraine. The ban has been introduced for one year. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

  • People buy imported fruit at a supermarket in downtown Moscow on Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014. The Russian government has banned all imports of meat, fish, milk and milk products and fruit and vegetables from the United States, the European Union, Australia, Canada and Norway, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev announced Thursday. The move was taken on orders from President Vladimir Putin in response to sanctions imposed on Russia by the West over the crisis in Ukraine. The ban has been introduced for one year.  (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

    People buy imported fruit at a supermarket in downtown Moscow on Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014. The Russian government has banned all imports of meat, fish, milk and milk products and fruit and vegetables from the United States, the European Union, Australia, Canada and Norway, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev announced Thursday. The move was taken on orders from President Vladimir Putin in response to sanctions imposed on Russia by the West over the crisis in Ukraine. The ban has been introduced for one year. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

  • Dutch sweet peppers on a display at a supermarket in downtown Moscow on Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014.The Russian government has banned all imports of meat, fish, milk and milk products and fruit and vegetables from the United States, the European Union, Australia, Canada and Norway, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev announced Thursday. The move was taken on orders from President Vladimir Putin in response to sanctions imposed on Russia by the West over the crisis in Ukraine. The ban has been introduced for one year.  (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

    Dutch sweet peppers on a display at a supermarket in downtown Moscow on Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014.The Russian government has banned all imports of meat, fish, milk and milk products and fruit and vegetables from the United States, the European Union, Australia, Canada and Norway, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev announced Thursday. The move was taken on orders from President Vladimir Putin in response to sanctions imposed on Russia by the West over the crisis in Ukraine. The ban has been introduced for one year. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

  • A woman choses sweets at a counter with imported food stuffs at a supermarket in downtown Moscow on Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014.The Russian government has banned all imports of meat, fish, milk and milk products and fruit and vegetables from the United States, the European Union, Australia, Canada and Norway, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev announced Thursday. The move was taken on orders from President Vladimir Putin in response to sanctions imposed on Russia by the West over the crisis in Ukraine. The ban has been introduced for one year.  (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

    A woman choses sweets at a counter with imported food stuffs at a supermarket in downtown Moscow on Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014.The Russian government has banned all imports of meat, fish, milk and milk products and fruit and vegetables from the United States, the European Union, Australia, Canada and Norway, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev announced Thursday. The move was taken on orders from President Vladimir Putin in response to sanctions imposed on Russia by the West over the crisis in Ukraine. The ban has been introduced for one year. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

  • Russian Premier Dmitry Medvedev announces sanctions at the Cabinet meeting in Moscow on Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014.The Russian government has banned all imports of meat, fish, milk and milk products and fruit and vegetables from the United States, the European Union, Australia, Canada and Norway, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev announced Thursday. The move was taken on orders from President Vladimir Putin in response to sanctions imposed on Russia by the West over the crisis in Ukraine. The ban has been introduced for one year.   (AP Photo/RIA Novosti, Dmitry Astakhov, Government Press Service)

    Russian Premier Dmitry Medvedev announces sanctions at the Cabinet meeting in Moscow on Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014.The Russian government has banned all imports of meat, fish, milk and milk products and fruit and vegetables from the United States, the European Union, Australia, Canada and Norway, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev announced Thursday. The move was taken on orders from President Vladimir Putin in response to sanctions imposed on Russia by the West over the crisis in Ukraine. The ban has been introduced for one year. (AP Photo/RIA Novosti, Dmitry Astakhov, Government Press Service)

  • Imported meat products are displayed at a supermarket in Novosibirsk, about 2,800 kilometers (1,750 miles) east of Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014. Russia banned most food imports from the West on Thursday in retaliation for sanctions over Ukraine, an unexpectedly sweeping move that will cost farmers in North America, Europe and Australia billions of dollars but will also likely lead to empty shelves in Russian cities. (AP Photo/Ilnar Salakhiev)

    Imported meat products are displayed at a supermarket in Novosibirsk, about 2,800 kilometers (1,750 miles) east of Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014. Russia banned most food imports from the West on Thursday in retaliation for sanctions over Ukraine, an unexpectedly sweeping move that will cost farmers in North America, Europe and Australia billions of dollars but will also likely lead to empty shelves in Russian cities. (AP Photo/Ilnar Salakhiev)

  • Shelves with imported fruit and vegetables the Lenta hypermarket in Novosibirsk, about 2,800 kilometers (1,750 miles) east of Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Aug 7, 2014. The Russian government has banned all imports of meat, fish, milk and milk products and fruit and vegetables from the United States, the European Union, Australia, Canada and Norway, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev announced Thursday. The move was taken on orders from President Vladimir Putin in response to sanctions imposed on Russia by the West over the crisis in Ukraine. The ban has been introduced for one year.  (AP Photo/Ilnar Salakhiev)

    Shelves with imported fruit and vegetables the Lenta hypermarket in Novosibirsk, about 2,800 kilometers (1,750 miles) east of Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Aug 7, 2014. The Russian government has banned all imports of meat, fish, milk and milk products and fruit and vegetables from the United States, the European Union, Australia, Canada and Norway, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev announced Thursday. The move was taken on orders from President Vladimir Putin in response to sanctions imposed on Russia by the West over the crisis in Ukraine. The ban has been introduced for one year. (AP Photo/Ilnar Salakhiev)

  • Women choose Dutch tomatoes at a supermarket in downtown Moscow on Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014. The Russian government has banned all imports of meat, fish, milk and milk products and fruit and vegetables from the United States, the European Union, Australia, Canada and Norway, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev announced Thursday. The move was taken on orders from President Vladimir Putin in response to sanctions imposed on Russia by the West over the crisis in Ukraine. The ban has been introduced for one year. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)
  • People buy imported fruit at a supermarket in downtown Moscow on Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014. The Russian government has banned all imports of meat, fish, milk and milk products and fruit and vegetables from the United States, the European Union, Australia, Canada and Norway, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev announced Thursday. The move was taken on orders from President Vladimir Putin in response to sanctions imposed on Russia by the West over the crisis in Ukraine. The ban has been introduced for one year.  (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)
  • Dutch sweet peppers on a display at a supermarket in downtown Moscow on Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014.The Russian government has banned all imports of meat, fish, milk and milk products and fruit and vegetables from the United States, the European Union, Australia, Canada and Norway, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev announced Thursday. The move was taken on orders from President Vladimir Putin in response to sanctions imposed on Russia by the West over the crisis in Ukraine. The ban has been introduced for one year.  (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)
  • A woman choses sweets at a counter with imported food stuffs at a supermarket in downtown Moscow on Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014.The Russian government has banned all imports of meat, fish, milk and milk products and fruit and vegetables from the United States, the European Union, Australia, Canada and Norway, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev announced Thursday. The move was taken on orders from President Vladimir Putin in response to sanctions imposed on Russia by the West over the crisis in Ukraine. The ban has been introduced for one year.  (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)
  • Russian Premier Dmitry Medvedev announces sanctions at the Cabinet meeting in Moscow on Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014.The Russian government has banned all imports of meat, fish, milk and milk products and fruit and vegetables from the United States, the European Union, Australia, Canada and Norway, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev announced Thursday. The move was taken on orders from President Vladimir Putin in response to sanctions imposed on Russia by the West over the crisis in Ukraine. The ban has been introduced for one year.   (AP Photo/RIA Novosti, Dmitry Astakhov, Government Press Service)
  • Imported meat products are displayed at a supermarket in Novosibirsk, about 2,800 kilometers (1,750 miles) east of Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014. Russia banned most food imports from the West on Thursday in retaliation for sanctions over Ukraine, an unexpectedly sweeping move that will cost farmers in North America, Europe and Australia billions of dollars but will also likely lead to empty shelves in Russian cities. (AP Photo/Ilnar Salakhiev)
  • Shelves with imported fruit and vegetables the Lenta hypermarket in Novosibirsk, about 2,800 kilometers (1,750 miles) east of Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Aug 7, 2014. The Russian government has banned all imports of meat, fish, milk and milk products and fruit and vegetables from the United States, the European Union, Australia, Canada and Norway, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev announced Thursday. The move was taken on orders from President Vladimir Putin in response to sanctions imposed on Russia by the West over the crisis in Ukraine. The ban has been introduced for one year.  (AP Photo/Ilnar Salakhiev)

Russia retaliated yesterday for sanctions over the crisis in Ukraine by banning most food imports from the West, dealing a blow to Europe that also takes aim at hurting the U.S., Canada and Australia.

In choosing to make an economic move, President Vladimir Putin signaled he isn’t ready at this point to send troops into Ukraine. He also showed he’s willing to inflict significant pain on his own people to make a point.

The U.S. and the European Union have accused Russia, which annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in March, of supplying arms and expertise to a pro-Moscow insurgency in eastern Ukraine, and have responded by slapping sanctions on Russian individuals and companies. Tensions rose further last month when a Malaysian jetliner was shot down over rebel-held territory, killing all 298 people aboard, and the West accused Russia of most likely providing the militants with the missiles that may have been used to bring the plane down.

Moscow denies supporting the rebels and accuses the West of blocking attempts at a political settlement by encouraging Kiev to use its military to crush the insurgency.

The ban, announced by a somber Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev at a televised Cabinet meeting, covers all imports of meat, fish, fruit, vegetables, milk and milk products from the U.S. and Canada; all 28 EU countries, plus Norway; and Australia. It will last for one year.

“Until the last moment, we hoped that our foreign colleagues would understand that sanctions lead to a deadlock and no one needs them,” Medvedev said. “But they didn’t, and the situation now requires us to take retaliatory measures.”

That retaliation, however, could hurt Russia as much as the West. With the inclusion of Ukraine, most of whose food products also have been banned, Russia has now cut off 55 percent of its agricultural imports, including about 95 percent of its imported milk, cheese and yogurt.

In 2013, the EU exported $15.8 billion in agricultural goods to Russia, while the U.S. sent $1.3 billion in food and agricultural goods, including about $300 million worth of poultry. Russia accounts for about a tenth of EU agricultural exports, its second-largest market after the United States.

Washington dismissed Moscow’s ban as trivial to the U.S. but destructive to Russia’s own population.

Legacy Comments1

It is time for New Hampshire to stop importing and to stop selling Russian Vodka. I urge all NH residents to boycott Russian products. Start with Russian vodka in our liquor stores.

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