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EU Approves 'Prohibitive' Tariffs on Russian Grain Imports

Alexander Polegenko / TASS

EU member states on Thursday agreed to impose "prohibitive" duties on grain imports from Russia in a bid to limit revenues to Moscow as it continues to wage war on neighboring Ukraine.

The latest measure will "tackle illegal Russian exports of stolen Ukraine grain into EU markets," the EU's trade commissioner, Valdis Dombrovskis, said on social media.

Likewise, the tariffs will be applied to supplies from Belarus, which served as a staging ground for the Kremlin's full-scale invasion in February 2022.

But the tariffs will not apply to Russian grain transiting through the EU to countries outside the bloc, to ensure that food supplies elsewhere are not impacted. Under World Trade Organization rules, virtually all Russian grain has until now been exempt from EU import duties.

Starting on July 1, the EU will increase "duties on cereals, oilseeds and derived products from Russia and Belarus to a point that will in practice halt imports of these products," the council representing the EU's 27 member states said.

"These measures will therefore prevent the destabilization of the EU's grain market [and] halt Russian exports of illegally appropriated grain produced in the territories of Ukraine," said Vincent Van Peteghem, Belgian's Minister of Finance.

"This is yet another way in which the EU is showing steady support to Ukraine," he added.

Russia has previously warned against the move, with Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov saying in March that "consumers in Europe would definitely suffer."

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told EU leaders earlier this year that it was unfair that Russian grain maintained access to their markets, while Ukrainian imports faced restrictions.

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