Moscow food embargo cost Bulgarian farmers $167 million – agriculture minister

© Stoyan Nenov
The losses incurred by farmers in Bulgaria as a result of the Russian food ban have reached 300 million lev ($167 million), the Agriculture Minister Desislava Taneva said in an interview with Bulgarian national radio on Sunday.

The losses are mainly connected with a drop in prices for products that fell under the ban, said Taneva. The minister said Bulgaria is interested in restoring relations and returning to traditional markets as soon as possible, but could not do this on its own but only as part of the EU.

Moscow banned food products from countries that imposed sanctions against Russia in August 2014 over the country’s alleged military involvement in Eastern Ukraine and Crimea. The ban includes meat, sausages, vegetables, fruit, dairy products as well as fish and seafood. Last June, President Putin extended the embargo by a year.

International sanctions against Moscow include restriction on lending to major Russian state-owned banks, defense firms, oil companies and individuals close to the Kremlin. Brussels also imposed a ban on the supply of weapons and military equipment to Russia as well as military technology, dual-use technologies, hi-tech equipment and technology for oil production.