BRUSSELS, July 1 (Xinhua) -- The European Commission on Saturday activated a one-year extension of exceptional measures to help producers of perishable fruits in 12 European Union (EU) countries to encounter Russian import ban.
The measures were first introduced by the Commission in the wake of the Russian import ban in August 2014.
The extended scheme is worth up to 70 million euro to EU fruit producers, and provides a safety net for producers who might not find a market outlet for their products as a result of the import ban, according to a press release published on the Commission's website.
It will compensate European fruit farmers who choose, for example, to distribute their excess products to organizations or make use of it for other purposes, said the release.
The scheme covers a maximum quantity of 165,835 tons of fruit and is shared by Belgium, Germany, Greece, Spain, France, Croatia, Italy, Cyprus, Netherlands, Austria, Poland and Portugal.
Different withdrawal volumes will apply to ensure that the financial support reaches the producers most in need, said the release.
Citing Russia's takeover of Crimea in March 2014 and its alleged involvement in the conflicts of Ukraine, the West has imposed rounds of sanctions against a number of Russian officials and companies.
In response, Russia imposed an embargo on food imports from Western countries in August 2014. Following three extensions, the import ban is due to expire at the end of 2018.
Western sanctions are a double-edged sword as Western countries lost more than Russia did, said Russian President Vladimir Putin last month during his annual "Direct Line" questions-and-answers session.