The Belarusian government has announced on Tuesday that it will ban some food imports from Western countries, starting next year, to retaliate against the sanctions that have been imposed against Belarus.
The ban will become active on the 1st of January in 2022 and will last for six months. Next to fruits and vegetables, it will also cover beef, pork and dairy from the EU, US, Canada, Britain, Norway and some other countries, according to the Belarus Government.
Belarus imported food products worth $530 million in the first 10 months of 2021, the Minsk government said. It did not specify what portion of these imports would be banned but said that it could expand the list of banned food imports in the event of additional Western sanctions. The Government stated more products could be included in the ban at a later time.
The United States and its Western allies, including the EU, last week imposed sanctions against dozens of individuals and entities in Belarus, in order to escalate punitive action against President Alexander Lukashenko and his government.
The European Union has made accusations towards Belarus, of flying in thousands of migrants from the Middle East and pushing them to cross into the bloc in retaliation for EU sanctions. These were imposed over Lukashenko’s dealing with protests against his disputed re-election last year. Belarus has denied the accusations.