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MOSCOW: Belarus said Tuesday it was imposing a ban on imports of foods from a number of Western countries after the United States and Europe widened sanctions on Minsk amid a severe crisis in ties. The Belarusian government published a decree saying a wide range of food imports from the European Union, the United States, Canada, Britain, Norway and several other countries would be banned from January 1.

“Retaliatory measures have been taken, taking into account continuing attempts of the collective West to exert illegal sanction pressure on our country,” the government said in a statement. Belarus authorities published a long list of foodstuffs whose import will be banned including meat, dairy products, vegetables, confectionery, and salt.

It added that more products could be banned in the future. The ban will be in force for six months, the government said. Belarus said food imports from the countries to be affected by the ban were worth more than $530 million in the first ten months of 2021.

Minsk said that some items — such as baby food — will be exempted from the ban, in the “interests” of Belarus nationals. “Importers, manufacturers and retail chains will focus on replacing goods that are not produced in Belarus with supplies from friendly states,” the government added in an apparent nod to Russia.

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