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Ukraine Threatens Retaliation Over Russian Food Imports Ban --> (RFE/RL) 30 January 2006 -- Ukraine's Agriculture Minister today threatened Russia with retaliation unless it lifted a ban on Ukrainian meat and dairy imports.

Oleksandr Baranivskyy made the threat at a press conference in Kyiv.

He was quoted as saying that Ukraine has "enough levers." But he also said he was doing everything he could to prevent a trade war.

Russia banned imports of Ukrainian meat and dairy products on 20 January, citing violations of veterinary standards. The move came amid continuing tensions over Russian natural gas supplies and rights to the use of lighthouses on Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula.

Ukrainian officials have tried unsuccessfully for a week to have the food imports ban lifted. Baranivskyy planned to travel to Moscow for talks but canceled the visit yesterday after reportedly being told the Russians could not guarantee a meeting with his counterpart.

(Unian, AP)

Celeste Wallander directs the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and is a CSIS senior fellow. Before joining CSIS, she was senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, D.C., and associate professor of government at Harvard University. She is the founder and executive director of the Program on New Approaches to Russian Security. Her recent projects include work on U.S.-Russian security cooperation, the history of Russia and globalization, HIV/AIDS in Russia, and the 2004 Ukrainian presidential election. Among her books are "Swords And Sustenance: The Economics Of Security In Belarus And Ukraine" and "Mortal Friends, Best Enemies: German-Russian Cooperation After The Cold War." She is currently writing "Global Russia: Economics, Politics, And Security."

On November 29, 2005, she spoke with RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service about Russia's energy policies and how Moscow might be seeking to leverage its influence over its neighbors. Listen to the complete interview.
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To read a transcript of the interview,click here.

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