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Russian Minister Says Western Food Ban Will Cost Billions

Russia's agriculture minister says the country will have to spend billions of dollars in the coming years to ensure it has ample food supplies after banning a wide range of Western imports.

Nikolai Fyodorov's comments on August 20 suggest the ban imposed in retaliation against Western sanctions over the Ukraine crisis will be costly.

Fyodorov told state-run Rossiya-24 television that Russia would have to spend the equivalent of hundreds of millions of dollars in "urgent" funding this year to fully replace banned products. He said in the coming years, billions of dollars in farm subsidies would be required.

Fyodorov also emphasized that Moscow is turning to nations such as Argentina and some ex-Soviet republics to replace Western imports.

Also on August 20, the government removed lactose-free milk, juvenile salmon, dietary supplements and some other hard-to-substitute items from the list of banned Western imports.

With reporting by dpa and AFP

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