On Monday, EU ministers meeting in Luxembourg approved a six-month extension of sanctions on Russia’s energy, defence and financial sectors that were "introduced in response to Russia’s destabilising role in eastern Ukraine", an EU statement said. That ratified a decision taken by officials last week.
Russia’s government submitted a proposal to extend its food import ban for six months to President Vladimir Putin, a spokeswoman for Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev was quoted as saying by TASS news agency.
"Taking into account that the European Union has extended sanctions against the Russian Federation for half a year, I ask you to prepare my proposal to the president to extend the presidential degree (on the ban) for this period," Medvedev told a meeting with his deputies.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said it was deeply disappointed that the view of the "Russophobe lobby" in the EU had prevailed, alluding to divisions within the EU over sanctions.
The ban covers imports of EU fruit, vegetables, meat, poultry, fish and dairy. According to Debbie Butcher, senior analyst at the Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board in the UK, the extension of the embargo has been "no surprise".
She said the countries worst affected by the ban have been Italy, Spain, Portugal and Germany, all of which exported considerable volumes of manufacturing beef to Russia. However, she said the amount Russia used to import only accounted for less than 1% of the EU’s total beef production and the "EU market has done quite well at finding other markets around the world" to take up the slack.