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Russian sanctions: Kremlin hits Italian beef

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Russian sanctions: Kremlin hits Italian beef
Vladimir Putin pictured earlier this week. Photo: Alexey Druzhinin/Ria Novosti/AFP
10:25 CEST+02:00
Russia has placed new restrictions on imports of livestock and beef from parts of Italy, in a move viewed as retaliation for Western sanctions. Further sanctions against the EU are expected later on Thursday.
Russia's food safety watchdog, cited disease outbreaks as the official reason for the ban, which also covers Romania, Bulgaria and parts of Greece. 
 
The Russians pointed to outbreaks of bluetongue, a viral disease affecting sheep and cattle, as the reason behind the ban, but the move comes as Russia steps up its retaliation for Western sanctions imposed over Russia's intervention in Ukraine.
 
The restrictions come into effect on Wednesday and Thursday, said the watchdog, which is part of the agricultural ministry.
 
Further restrictions covering the 28 EU member states and other Western countries are expected to be announced on Thursday evening, after President Vladimir Putin issued an executive decree on Wednesday.
 
The Kremlin said in a statement that Putin's decree "either bans or limits... the import into the Russian Federation of certain kinds of agricultural products, raw materials and food originating from countries that have decided to adopt economic sanctions against Russian entities and (or) individuals."
 
Russia's Rosselkhoznadzor agricultural sector watchdog said it would publish its list of recommendations by Thursday evening.
 
Sources at the agency told Russian state media that the list would include all fruits and vegetables produced in the 28 EU nations. 
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