Russia's PM orders sanctions package against Turkey

By bne IntelliNews November 26, 2015

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev joined other officials with hawkish statements on the downing of a Su-24 bomber by Turkey on November 26 and gave ministries two days to draw up a list of possible defence, diplomatic and economic retaliatory measures, newswires reported.

"This is definitely an act of aggression against our state on the part of Turkey, our neighbour and the North Atlantic alliance member also," TASS quoted Medvedev as saying, two days after the plane was shot down with the subsequent death of one of its two crewmen at the hands of rebels on the ground.

Russia's PM said that the initiative was cleared with President Vladimir Putin and outlined possible areas for sanctions: restrictions of financial operations, trade deals, changes in import and export customs duties, tourism sphere, transportation, including transit, aircraft and vessels movement, humanitarian contacts, and use of the workforce.

Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said earlier that economic sanctions against Turkey, including widely discussed food import embargo, will not be introduced.

However, unconfirmed reports said cargo arriving from Turkey has already been subjected to 100% safety and sanitary check-ups on Russian borders.

On November 25, Minister of Agriculture Alexander Tkachev said that Russia may substitute import of vegetables from Turkey with those supplied from other neighbouring countries, noting that Turkish vegetables account for 20% of total Russian vegetable imports and 4% of total food imports.

Notably, last time food imports embargo was introduced against EU, US, and other countries, this had a strong inflationary effect in Russia. Similar measures against Turkey for products with large weight in total imports might have the same effect and sabotage ongoing inflation curbing.

As reported by bne IntelliNews on November 26, the confusion over what really happened over the Turkish border with Syria on November 24 that ended with the Russian bomber being shot down is dense.

The Russians are clearly outraged and claim their plane was "ambushed". Moscow backs this up with an alleged leaked letter to the UN from Turkey that says the plane spent just 17 seconds inside Turkish airspace before it was targeted with a heat-seeking missile.

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