Russia's Putin issues retaliatory ban on imports

President Vladimir Putin has banned food and agricultural imports from countries that imposed sanctions against Russia because of its actions in Ukraine.

Putin signed the decree Wednesday, calling it an order "on the use of separate special economic measures aimed at ensuring the security of the Russian Federation."

The move comes more than a week after the United States and European Union increased economic sanctions on Moscow for supporting pro-Russian separatists fighting Ukraine government forces in the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, along the border with Russia.

A list of the specific products and food to be banned is still to be worked out by the Russian government, according to the decree.

Putin also said measures would be taken to prevent a jump in food prices in Russia, which is Europe's largest importer in value of animals, meat, dairy products, fruits and vegetables, according to the European Union.

Goods from the EU represent 16% of all Russian imports, EU numbers show.

Troop build-up by Russia

Several countries imposed sanctions on Moscow after Russia annexed Crimea in March, which escalated the Ukraine conflict following the ouster of pro-Moscow President Viktor Yanukovych a month earlier.

Since then, tensions have simmered and flared in Ukraine, with frequent battles between Ukraine government forces and pro-Russia separatists in the eastern part of the country.

A new buildup of Russian troops along the Ukraine border raised concerns Tuesday that Moscow might be contemplating another intervention like the annexation of Crimea.

RELATED: John McCain blames Vladimir Putin for downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17

According to a NATO official, Russia now has about 20,000 troops stationed "in an area along the entire border with eastern Ukraine." The buildup nearly doubled the troop deployment in the last week by adding 8,000 more forces to 12,000 already there, the official said.

In addition, Russia's Defense Ministry is staging a week of military exercises involving air troops and anti-missile defense forces. The exercises are taking place in Russia's southern Astrakhan region, roughly 500 miles from the border with Ukraine.

Similar military exercises in the region preceded the annexation of Crimea.

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