Belarus responds to sanctions by banning Western food products

Belarus announced Tuesday, December 7, to ban food imports from several Western countries, in retaliation for new economic sanctions against Minsk, which is accused of fueling a vast migration crisis on the Polish-Belarusian border by issuing visas to refugees and sending them there.

A range of food products including fruits, vegetables, meat and dairy products from the European Union (EU), Canada, USA, UK and other European countries will now be banned from importation.

“Retaliatory measures have been taken taking into account the permanent attempts of the West to collectively exert illegal pressure with sanctions against our country”, wrote the Belarusian government in a statement. The embargo will begin on 1is January 2022 and will be in place for six months, he said.

Also according to the government, Belarus, an agricultural country, imported more than 530 million dollars of these products in the first ten months of 2021.

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Heavy western sanctions

Some goods, such as baby food, will not be affected, the government said, so as not to undermine “Interest” Belarusians. “Importers, manufacturers and distributors will endeavor to replace products not manufactured in Belarus with goods from friendly countries”, added the authorities.

Since the crackdown on the opposition denouncing the contested re-election of President Alexander Lukashenko in 2020, the West has punished Minsk by imposing heavy sanctions against companies and regime officials.

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Last week, the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union and Canada further widened these sanctions to protest the recent migration crisis on the borders between Belarus and the EU. Minsk is accused of having encouraged thousands of migrants from the Middle East to enter the EU illegally – notably via Poland, but also via Lithuania – in order to destabilize it. Alexander Lukashenko strongly denies and has received the support of Moscow, his main ally.

Since 2014, Russia itself has stopped importing Western food products in protest against Western sanctions taken after Moscow’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula.

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Belarus responds to sanctions by banning Western food products

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