Following requests from the Russian agriculture industry, the Prime Minister of Russia, Dmitry Medvedev has asked for the Russian government to prepare proposals on extending the food embargo through 2017.

The Russian ban of EU food products was introduced after the EU put in place economic sanctions against Russia following its actions in the east of Ukraine.

Speaking following a meeting with the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs the Russian Prime Minister said that he has assigned the government to "extend counter-sanction measures not for one year, but until the end of 2017".

He also said that a petition to the Russian President Vladimir Putin will be prepared on the Russian ban, which will need to be approved by him should if the embargo is to continue.

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Last month however, a leading Russian commentator on dairy markets suggested that the Russian ban on EU foods is likely to remain in place until at least 2018.

Michael Mischenko, Editor of the Russian-based Dairy News, told attendees at the Dairy Industry Newsletter dairy conference ‘forget about Russia’.

The Russian ban, he said, will not be cancelled until at least 2018 because the Russian population, Government and Russian agri market are not willing to open the market.

He said the ban gives Russia the opportunity to develop its own dairy industry. One dairy company, he said is going to build a very big dairy farm to supply China, located near China, while a Vietnamese company is investing $2.5bn to build dairy processing in Moscow.

Mischenko also suggested that anyone interested in the Russian market should invest in it.

"You can invest money in Russia." He cited the example of Stefan Duerr – one of the biggest dairy farmers in Russia, with 2,000 ha of land in Russia, is German born, while the German dairy company DMK is investing in Russia, he said.

The two largest producers of dairy products in Russia are Pepsico and Danone, he said, although almost 50% of milk in Russia is produced by ‘households’ for own consumption, which makes official production figures difficult to calculate.