Putin Says Russia Will ‘Monitor’ Food Exports to ‘Hostile’ Countries, Be ‘Prudent’ With Supplies Abroad

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Russian President Vladimir Putin has instructed his government to “monitor” exports of food to countries that Moscow deems as “hostile” as the West weighs up levying more sanctions against Moscow.

Putin announced the move during a meeting on agriculture on Tuesday, just days after the European Union proposed sweeping new sanctions against the country in response to allegations of Russian forces committing war crimes in Ukraine.

“Against the backdrop of global food shortages, this year we will have to be prudent with supplies abroad and carefully monitor such exports to countries that are clearly hostile towards us,” Putin said at a meeting on agriculture.

The president noted that Russia’s food production “fully” covered domestic needs and called on officials to increase the replacement of foreign imports with local production.

“We need to set clear targets for import substitution and persistently pursue them in the very near future,” he said in reference to the nation’s “potential” in agriculture, industry, and science.

The Russian leader also stressed the importance of minimizing the “negative external effects” on Russian citizens, explaining that they should have access to “high-quality affordable food products, including fish products.”

“This is a key task for the current year,” he said.

Putin’s comments come shortly after former Russian president, Dmitry Medvedev, threatened to limit exports of agriculture products to “friendly” countries only amid mounting sanctions from Western nations.

Medvedev wrote on Telegram on April 1 that numerous countries depend on supplies of food from Russia, which is a major global exporter of several commodities, including sunflower oil, barley, and wheat; the latter of which it mainly supplies to Africa and the Middle East.

“It turns out that our food is our quiet weapon. Quiet but ominous,” he said.

“The priority in food supplies is our domestic market. And price control,” he continued. “We will supply food and crops only to our friends (fortunately, we have a lot of them, and they are not at all in Europe and not in North America). We will sell both for rubles and for their national currency in agreed proportions.”

Earlier this week, the European Union unveiled new planned sanctions against Moscow in response to allegations of war crimes committed by the Russian military in the Ukrainian town of Bucha, after images emerged over the weekend showing multiple dead bodies and mass graves, with some of the individuals appearing to have their hands bound behind their backs.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has described the events that have taken place there as a “genocide.”

European Commission head Ursula von der Leyen said the proposed sanctions on Moscow would include banning Russian imports worth nearly $10 billion and exports to Russia worth nearly $11 billion, an E.U.-wide ban on Russian coal imports, and a full transaction ban on four key Russian banks, among other things.

However, the sanctions are yet to be approved by lawmakers in E.U. member states.

The United States on April 6 also announced a fresh round of sanctions against the country, including a ban on all new investments in Russia, and a block on Russia’s biggest financial institution, Sberbank. The White House described the new sanctions as “devastating economic measures” that are “designed to reinforce each other to generate intensifying impact over time.”

Katabella Roberts

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Katabella Roberts is a reporter currently based in Turkey. She covers news and business for The Epoch Times, focusing primarily on the United States.



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