Russian import ban hits Ukraine dairy industry

By Leah Vyse

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Milk Ukraine

Milk producers in the Ukraine have lost an estimated €4million
(UAH25m) following the import ban into Russia last week,
implemented because imports of animal products had breached food
safety standards.

And Viktor Pismak, director general of the national Ukrmyaso association, predicts that the industry could lose $49m within a month if the ban is upheld as talks on Monday in Moscow failed to convince Russian officials that they should lift the ban.

Ukrainian dairies and meat packing plants dealt a further blow to the situation by threatening to stop work if the government fails to turnaround Russia's decision to ban imports of Ukranian meat and dairy products.

Segey Dankvert, head of Russia's RosSelihozNadzor food safety body, said Russia had been forced to impose the ban because many imports of animal products from Ukraine had breached food safety standards. He said the Ukrainian veterinarian service had not maintained effective controls on meat.

The ban launched by the Russian agriculture ministry on January 20 includes meat, eggs, fish, cheese, milk, butter and tinned food and the drop in supplies is expected to cause rising prices in Russia.

Last year Russia bought €325m worth of dairy produce from the Ukraine with more than 50 per cent of its cheese being exported there. And on a daily basis Ukrainian producers were shipping out 120 tons of the top selling "Russian Cheese" brand, according to a Ukrainian news service.

Itar-Tass news service has reported that Ukrainian Prime Minister, Yuri Yekhanurov has even admitted that Russia was correct in its assertions surrounding meat transit to the Ukraine.

Speaking at a press conference, Yekhanurov said that ox meat had been imported by unknown dealers from "unfavourable" parts of India via the Odessa seaport accompanied by fake documents claiming the meat was New Zealand beef.

The meat was ceased on the Russian border in Bryansk leading to the ban on January 20 and another 400 containers of the Indian meat remain in the port.

Analysts have suggested that this is just the latest in a long list of Russia's politically motivated trade bans.

Since pro-European Prime Minister, Yuri Yekhanurov was voted into power last year Russia has been keen to retaliate. It went so far as to cut gas supplies to the Ukraine after it refused to pay four times the agreed amount for its gas. Political observers suggest that last week's ban is the next punishment for the country turning its back on Russia.

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