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PM Stubb: Finland among countries "hardest hit" by Russian food embargo

Finnish Prime Minister Alexander Stubb says that Finland is among those countries poised to take the hardest hit from Russia's decision to ban food imports from western countries. The permier however sought to calm concerns that a trade war might be brewing between Russia and the West.

Alexander Stubb.
Prime Minister Alexander Stubb spoke to Finnish media about the Russian food embargo in Jyväskylä Friday. Image: Yle

Prime Minister Stubb ranked Finland sixth among those countries likely to suffer the most from the Kremlin's counter to financial and other sanctions imposed by the West over its role in Ukraine. He noted that Lithaunia for example, would be most affected by the food embargo.

Stubb added that the European Commission is currently working on a comprehensive assessment of how the year-long Russian food import ban will impact on different national economies. Those evaluations are expected next week, he said.

Stubb insisted that Russia and the West are not engaged in a trade war, differing from comments made by professor Pekka Sutela of the Lappeenranta University of Technology earlier on Friday.

"Finland or the EU aren't involved in a trade war. This is about sanction instruments and resulting Russian countermeasures," Stubb said in Jyväskylä Friday.

The premier added that the key to resolving the current crisis lies only with Russia.

"If Russia takes new political actions that will resolve the situation in Ukraine, then I don't see the need for additional sanctions," Stubb added.

In the shadow of the possible negative fallout from the food embargo Finance Minister Antti Rinne said he's still expecting positive economic news.

"The Finance Ministry estimates that our economic base will not change following this crisis. If no additional surprises arise, it looks like Finns can rest easy," Rinne remarked.

Rinne said that the Russian sanctions will have a limited impact on some sectors. Otherwise, there appears to be an uptick in exports, he noted.

"It seems that exports are developing positively otherwise. At least from the budget perspective these sanctions should have no impact that would require us to change the baseline economic forecasts for next year," Rinne concluded.

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