Berlin: The European Union has criticised Russia`s ban on food imports from the West as "politically motivated" and threatened to take "appropriate action" after fully assessing the extent of Kremlin`s measures.
The EU "regrets the announcement by the Russian Federation of measures, which will target imports of food and agricultural products", the European Commission, the executive arm of the 28-nation bloc, said in Brussels yesterday.
The commission will assess the measures announced by Russia as soon as it gets more information regarding their "full content and extent" and "we reserve the right to take appropriate action", a spokesman said in a press statement.
The spokesman defended the EU`s wide-ranging economic sanctions and embargo on arms and high technology exports slashed on Russia last week for its "failure" to de-escalate the conflict in eastern Ukraine.
The EU`s restrictive measures "are directly linked with the illegal annexation of Crimea and destabilisation of Ukraine", the statement said.
The European Union remains committed to de-escalating the situation in Ukraine, it said.
Russian Prime Minister Dimitry Medvedev yesterday presented details of a ban on food imports from the West ordered by President Vladimir Putin a day earlier in retaliation to the economic sanctions and arms embargo.
Medvedev said his country would impose a "full embargo" on the imports of meat, poultry, fish, milk products, fruits and vegetables from the EU, the US, Canada, Australia and Norway for one year.
Germany`s Agriculture Minister Christian Schmidt spoke of Russia`s food import ban as a "politically motivated step".
It is too early to assess the consequences of the import ban for the German food industry, but its impact will be felt in this county, he said in a TV interview.
Russia is an important market for Germany`s food products, especially for meat and meat products and Germany`s total food exports to that country were valued at around EUR 1.6 billion last year.
Russia is also the second biggest market for the EU`s food and agricultural products and the bloc`s exports to the country reached around EUR 11.8 billion last year.