Russia to impose ban on Ukrainian food imports starting next year

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.