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Significantly swell costs and increase flight time

Dmitry Medvedev said the ban was effective immediately and would last for one year. Medvedev said Russia is also considering banning Western carriers from flying over Russia on flights to and from Asia – a move that would significantly swell costs and increase flight time. He said a decision on that hasn’t been made yet.

“There is nothing good in sanctions and it wasn’t an easy decision to take, but we had to do it,” Medvedev said.

The decision follows a decree signed by President Vladimir Putin ordering the government to ban or limit food imports from countries that imposed sanctions on Moscow for its support of rebels in eastern Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea.

The ban will cost Western farmers billions of dollars but could also lead to empty shelves in Russian cities.

It will have a significant impact on Canada’s pork industry. Canada’s agricultural exports to Russia amounted to $563 million in 2012, according to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, and most of them were frozen pork.

Russia didn’t take long to respond to new sanctions from Canada, the U.S., the EU and other countries. On Wednesday Canada added new sanctions and travel bans on several top Russian and Ukrainian politicians and groups with ties to Putin’s government.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has frequently said Russia’s occupation of the Crimean Peninsula and provocative military activity in eastern Ukraine is a “grave concern” to Canada and the world.

Harper said Canada is prepared to take further actions if Putin’s government continues its military aggression.

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