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Latvia bans Russian grain, calls EU to do same measures

Citing the need to stop “Russia’s war machine,” Latvia’s farm minister is demanding the EU replace grain and food imports from Russia with Ukrainian goods and put sanctions on Russian grain & foodstuffs.
Latvian farmers on the protest against agricultural imports from Russia and Belarus in February 2024. Credit: Imanta Kaziļuna
Latvia bans Russian grain, calls EU to do same measures
Latvia’s Minister of Agriculture Armands Krauze demands that the EU impose banned the import of Russian grain and sanctions against Russian food exports at the pan-European level, Ukrinform reported. Latvia has become the first European Union (EU) member state to legislate restrictions on the use of agricultural products from Russia and Belarus. The ban will last until at least July 2025 and apply to agricultural and livestock products that remain in Latvia rather than those transiting to other EU member states. “We are still asking for European sanctions extended to Russian grain and foodstuffs,” Armands Krauze said in Brussels on 26 February ahead of an EU Agriculture and Fisheries Council meeting. Krauze said that everything imported from Russia could be imported from Ukraine instead. “And thus, we will support Ukraine and not help Russia feed its war machine.” The minister said the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy needs clarification as much has changed since its last review in 2021, with Europe now at war. The development changes a lot in terms of geopolitics and markets. “For example, Ukraine cannot ship grain to Africa where some countries badly need it,” he said.
“We fully support Ukraine. What is happening on the border is not understandable. We need to make sure there is free movement of goods between EU countries and that we do not have blocked borders,” Krauze said regarding the situation at the Polish-Ukrainian border. “We have to adapt quickly. And not say, ‘We’ll think about it and do something in a couple of years.’ I think the war will be over by then. We have to act fast,” he said.
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