Ukraine has announced scores of additional Russian products will be tacked on to a list of embargoed goods as the trade war between the neighboring countries escalated further Wednesday, local media reported. The move comes one day after French and German diplomats met with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in an effort to end the continuing war in the Donbass region.
“Today more than 70 types of commodities originating from Russia will be added to the original list of the Russian-made goods subject to Ukraine’s embargo,” Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatseniuk said, urging people to buy Ukrainian products. “These are our measures to counter Russian aggression, and we will continue to protect our domestic market.”
Ukraine’s embargo has targeted Russian food products, alcohol, cigarettes and chemicals used in farming, as well as railway equipment. The embargo comes after the Kremlin banned the import of some Ukrainian goods Jan. 1 in a tit-for-tat escalation that has become the standard between the two countries. The Ukrainian government has been looking to increase trade with other neighboring countries and Central Asian states to make up for the gap with Moscow.
Moscow increased economic pressure on Ukraine Tuesday, with natural gas company Gazprom demanding a $2.55 billion payment for the period of July through September. It was unclear why the payment was demanded almost four months after it was due. Ukraine has been trying to decrease its dependence on Russian natural gas, a tool Russia has used for political purposes in the past.
Relations between Russia and Ukraine have continued to deteriorate since the annexation of Crimea in March 2014 and the ensuing war in Eastern Ukraine that has left over 9,000 people dead and displaced over 1.4 million. The war has pitted Ukrainian government forces against Russian-backed separatists. Russian President Vladimir Putin has continued to maintain that no Russian regular troops are involved in the conflict, a claim Kiev has rejected.
“Right now, all our partners are trying to understand how to end this stalemate, because in reality, there has been no improvement,” a Ukrainian diplomat told Agence France-Presse regarding the conflict.