​Russia should consider interests of Hungary, Greece & Cyprus in countermeasures - Upper House chair

Chairperson of the Federation Coucil Valentina Matviyenko (RIA Novosti / Alexey Filippov)
Russia should take into account the position of EU countries that have actively opposed the policy of Western sanctions when preparing a reciprocal response, says Russian Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matvienko.

"I believe that such states [Hungary, Greece and Cyprus – Ed.] should be supported. We also need to strengthen the control over how the counter-sanctions are implemented, so the Russian market did not receive products from countries that have imposed sanctions,”Matvienko told Interfax, quoted byRBC.

READ MORE: Embargo relief? Russia tests food from Greece & Hungary

With these countries, Russia has not only trade and economic, but also political relations, she added.

In April, Russia began quality control of fruits and vegetables from Hungary, Greece and Cyprus, as they have all asked Russia to cancel or reduce the food import embargo.

Hungary, Greece and Cyprus may be the first to return to Russian supermarket shelves once the food ban ends, said Sergey Dankvert, head of Rosselkhoznadzor, the Russian agricultural watchdog in March.

The EU extended sanctions against Russia for another six months on June 22. Moscow responded Wednesday by prolonging its food embargo by a year. The relevant order was signed by President Putin and comes into force on the day.

READ MORE: Russia considers banning chocolate and flowers from EU - food safety watchdog

The Ministry of Agriculture sent the government an amended embargo list Tuesday. The current list will exclude young fish and shell fish, but will tighten import standards for lactose free products, said RBC citing sources.

The issue of expanding the embargo has not been fully worked out.

On Tuesday, Russian food watchdog spokesman Aleksey Alekseenko said Russia is considering banning chocolate and flowers from the EU.

Russian Agriculture Minister Aleksandr Tkachev said the ministry had plans to add flowers and canned fish from countries to the embargo list. There was no decision to include chocolate on the list, though, he said.