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Russia considers softening food import ban – Interfax cites minister

President Nicos Anastasiades and Russian President Vladimir Putin during a visit to Moscow in February

Russian Agriculture Minister Nikolai Fyodorov said his ministry was considering softening its ban on food imports from a series of European Union countries, including Cyprus, Interfax news agency reported on Wednesday.

The embargo, introduced last year in response to Western sanctions imposed on Moscow for its role in theUkraine crisis, restricted many European food producers’ access to the large Russian market.

Combined with a weaker rouble, it also helped push Russian inflation in February to a near 13-year high of 16.7 per cent.

Fyodorov said Russia was considering easing the embargo first of all for Greece, Hungary and Cyprus.

“We are actively investigating to see what civilised opportunities there are to their proposals (countries which have asked to lift the embargo),” he told journalists. “If we help them, we would not want to create problems for them in their relations with Brussels.”

Fyodorov also said his ministry did not plan to change its wheat export duty and that it expected 2015 grain exports at up to 25 million tonnes.

The government has said the export duty, imposed as of February 1, amounted to 15 per cent of the customs price plus 7.5 euros and would be no less than 35 euros per tonne until June 30.



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