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Politics Monitor

Tusk calls for European sanctions on Russian and Belarusian agricultural products​

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk announced Monday that Poland would demand from the European Union “comprehensive sanctions” on Russian and Belarusian agricultural and food products, a demand immediately supported by Kiev, at a time when the EU is shaken by a farmers’ protest movement.

“I would prefer the whole European Union to decide on sanctions against Russia and Belarus regarding food and agricultural products,” Tusk told reporters in Vilnius. According to him, a joint EU decision would be “more effective” than individual decisions taken by member states.

So far, Latvia has banned the import of food products from Russia and Belarus, including via intermediate countries, in early February.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Chmygal supported the Polish initiative in kyiv. “We must look for a mechanism (…) and we call on the European Commission to find this format” to block Russian and Belarusian imports, he said.

Citing Eurostat statistics, he highlighted that EU imports of Russian agricultural and agri-food products increased from 4.9 million tonnes in 2022 to 5.1 million tonnes in the first eleven months of 2023.

The EU “has not sanctioned food products because of global food security”, he said, but “how is it that during a large-scale invasion, sanctions and threats from Russia towards Europe, its exports to the EU increase? », all while supplying “the Russian budget and the Russian aggressor state”.

In Warsaw, the Polish Prime Minister said he would ask the Polish Parliament on Monday to adopt a resolution calling on the European Commission to “impose comprehensive sanctions” on Russian and Belarusian agricultural and food products that are not subject to embargoes. Europeans.

According to him, such measures would make it possible to more effectively protect European agricultural and food markets, as well as to “fully unlock the possibilities of exporting Ukrainian agricultural and food products to third countries”.

Polish farmers have been blocking border crossings with Ukraine and other roads across the country for weeks to protest what they see as unfair competition from Ukraine.

The blockages have caused a crisis in bilateral relations, with at least four incidents in which Polish farmers dumped Ukrainian grain from trucks and freight trains.

This article is originally published on lorientlejour.com

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