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US says Russian food ban will backfire

WASHINGTON D.C. (AA) - The Russian ban on western foods is likely to severely damage Russia’s economy while doing little damage to its intended target, the United States has said. Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday signed a decree to ban or severely restrict imports of food and agricultural products from the countries imposing sanctions on Russia over the crisis in Ukraine.
The Kremlin suspended procurement of "beef, pork, poultry, fish, cheese, milk and vegetables" for a year, according to Russian Premier Dmitry Medvedev.
Speaking to reporters Thursday, deputy State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said: "The bottom line here is President Putin is denying his own people food. And I’m not sure how he’s going to sell that at home, but not only is he running their economy into the ground and their growth is now predicted at zero, but he's also denying them basic things like food."
David Cohen, the U.S. Treasury Department’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said that Russia’s actions "will have an utterly insignificant impact on the U.S. economy."
Speaking on American news outlet MSNBC, he added: "What the Russians have done here by banning the imports of some food is really to impose sanctions on sort of the very basics of Russian life."
Russia imports roughly 40 percent of its food, said Cohen.

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