RUSSIA has banned food imports from Ireland in retaliation for EU sanctions imposed following its involvement in the Ukraine conflict.
The move has sent shockwaves through the €10bn Irish food export sector, which has been hit as part of Russia's ban on various European products.
All meat, fish, fruit and vegetable and many dairy imports from the EU, US, Australia, Canada and Norway have been banned for at least a year by Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.
Authorities here were unclear about the exact extent of the ban, with exemptions for key items such as infant milk formula and casein (proteins).
Russia accounts for 2.5pc of Ireland's food and drink exports, but with a population of 142 million it was one of the fastest-growing markets for Irish produce.
The Ukraine conflict has rumbled on for almost six months, with Russia annexing Crimea and pro-Russian separatists launching an uprising against the pro-western Ukrainian government in the east of the country.
The shooting down of a Malaysia Airlines plane last month, killing all 298 people on board, caused a worldwide outcry, with pro-Russian rebels being blamed.
Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney said the anti-EU sanctions were not unexpected.
"The impact on Ireland will depend both on the products covered by the ban and any knock-on effects on international market prices as banned products seek replacement markets," he said.