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Russia Showing Europe and the Ukraine a Friendlier Face

In what appears to be the marking of a change in policy, Russia is beginning to open itself up by dropping some of its food sanctions on some EU countries.

Slovakian newspaper, Aktuality is reporting that Russia is considering dropping some of the food embargoes on Greece, Hungary and Cyprus.

Russian Agriculture Minister, Nikolai Fedorov said the Russian Ministry of Agriculture is considering a mitigation of the embargo. No further information of the details are currently available.

The news will be welcome to farmers in the selected countries where many farmers depend on exports to the Russian market.

Poland for example, has seen a drop in food exports of 99% to Russia.

Some 40% of the country’s apple industry had depended on the Russian export market alone.

Consumers in Russia may also be relieved.

The sanctions Russia have placed on the EU, US and other nations has contributed to the rising inflation in the country. Inflation surpassed 16% in February, a 13 year high.

Ukraine Gas

 

In another sign Russia is changing tack on its policies towards Europe, Energy Minister, Alexander Novak has spoken about offering the Ukraine reductions in the price of gas. He was speaking in an interview with Reuters.

Russia appears to be prepared to waive a guarantee of volumes of gas which the Ukraine had not met, and allow a rebate of $100 per 1,000 cubic metres to be paid anyway.

Gas deliveries to the Ukraine have been disrupted in many periods over the past year. The Ukraine has largely depended on the re-export of gas from countries such as Slovakia, Poland and Hungary as a lifeline.

Ukrainian Prime Minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk has said that supply contract negotiations for a post ‘winter gas package’, known as the ‘summer package’ will begin around 20th March.

The European Union has a major interest in settling the long standing gas dispute between the two countries, as any disruption will ultimately effect supply to the EU.

Half of Russian gas entering the EU is piped through the Ukraine.

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