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Russian President Putin decrees retaliatory sanctions

The Kremlin has said it will take retaliatory measures in the wake of a new round of sanctions imposed by the US and the EU recently. Moscow said there'd be tougher import restrictions for a variety of products.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday he has ordered government agencies to

ban or severely restrict imports

of food and agricultural products from the countries which had earlier imposed sanctions against Russia over the conflict in Ukraine.

It was not immediately clear exactly which products would be affected by the Kremlin's retaliatory measures.

Putin's decree said the import bans or limitations on the products yet to be defined by the ministries would initially stay in place for one year.

Tit for tat

The Russian President said the measures were being taken with a view to preserving his country's national interests.

Europe stands to lose the most from the decree, given its big trading relationship with Russia. Already, European businesses that have

ties with Russia's financial, military and energy sectors

stand to suffer from the current conflict.

Fears of a trade war saw the Moscow Stock Exchange's benchmark index plummet to its lowest level since the end of May, and the ruble's value on currency exchanges hit a four-and-a-half month low.

hg/nz (AFP, Reuters, AP)

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