RUSSIA - The Russian Agriculture Ministry has prepared a draft decree to extend its embargo on food products from a number of countries including the EU and US until the end of 2017.
The sanctions were imposed in August 2014 in retaliation for Western sanctions resulting from the crisis in Ukraine.
The restrictions cover a range of products, including meats, fish, dairy products and fruit and vegetables, causing problems for these markets in many countries. Other products were subsequently added to the list, such as lactose-free milk and salmon and trout hatchlings.
According to Russia's Tass News Agency, which reported the move, Agriculture Minister Alexander Tkachev said the embargo's extension would be "good news for domestic agricultural producers."
The draft will have to be approved by President Vladimir Putin before the extension goes ahead.
"The embargo is currently effective until the end of August. I think these documents will be approved unless some miraculous changes occur in the geopolitics," Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich told Tass.
A further report from Tass said that poultry meat, beef and vegetables intended for use in baby food manufacturing have been removed from the new embargo decree, which will allow certain volumes of these foods through into Russia.
The EU's sanctions against Russia are set to run until 31 July 2016, but a recent statement released by the office of German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier hinted that an easing of the sanctions might be on the cards.
"Sanctions are not an end in themselves but need to serve to provide an incentive for the political behaviour we would like to see," he said.
"In the current situation this means that a demand for all or nothing will not bring us any closer to our goal. If substantial progress is made, the gradual reduction of sanctions must also be an option."