Russian sanctions: Kremlin hits Italian beef

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.

Russian sanctions: Kremlin hits Italian beef
Vladimir Putin pictured earlier this week. Photo: Alexey Druzhinin/Ria Novosti/AFP
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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Macron, Scholz and Draghi meet Ukrainian president in Kyiv

French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi have met the Ukrainian president in Kyiv, after the trio travelled overnight by train from Poland.

Macron, Scholz and Draghi meet Ukrainian president in Kyiv

The three leaders left in the early hours of Thursday, arriving into Kyiv on Thursday morning. After a visit to the heavily-bombed town of Irpin, they met Ukraine’s leader Volodymyr Zelensky.

It is the first time that the leaders of the three European Union countries have visited Kyiv since Russia’s February 24th invasion of Ukraine, and the visit comes as Kyiv is pushing for membership of the EU.

Macron has been paying a two-day visit to Romania and Moldova to discuss the ongoing crisis caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

There had been widespread speculation in France that he would combine the trip with a visit to Zelensky in Ukraine, but this was not confirmed until Thursday morning.

In a joint press conference with Romanian president Klaus Iohannis, Macron reiterated his desire that Ukraine should win the war, but added that eventually negotiations between Ukraine and Russia will be necessary.