Russia says it intends to ban imports of Ukrainian food starting next year.

The move announced Wednesday by Alexei Ulyukayev, the economic development minister, could deal a considerable blow to the economy of Ukraine, which is already struggling from the fight with Russia-backed separatists in its eastern regions.

Ukrainian Deputy Economic Development Minister Nataliya Mykolska was quoted by the Interfax news agency last week as saying such a ban would cut Ukrainian exports by as much as $205 million.

Ulyukayev said the measure was being imposed in response to Ukraine's sanctions against Russia.

The announcement comes a day after Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said the country plans to join a free trade zone with the European Union on Jan. 1.