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Biden says US 'embarrassed' EU into sanctioning Russia over Ukraine
America’s leadership had to embarrass Europe to impose economic hits on Russia over the crisis in Ukraine – even though the EU was opposed to such a motion.
We’ve given Putin a simple choice: Respect Ukraine’s  sovereignty or face increasing consequences,” Biden told a  gathering at the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum at Harvard  University's Institute of Politics on Thursday.
The consequences were the sanctions  which the EU imposed on Russia, first targeting individual  politicians and businessmen deemed responsible for the crisis in  Ukraine, then switching to the energy, defense, and economic  sectors.
It is true they did not want to do that,” Biden  admitted.
It was America’s leadership and the president of the United  States insisting, oft times almost having to embarrass Europe to  stand up and take economic hits to impose costs,” the US  vice president declared.

Those costs deemed behind the ruble's historic  plunge not only forced America’s ExxonMobil to retreat from  Russia’s Arctic shelf, but also provoked counter-measures from  Moscow, which suspended certain food imports from the EU. Russia’s counter-sanctions have hit many of the EU’s agricultural  states. EU members, particularly those close to Russia, were the  most affected by the loss of the Russian market.   

 For instance, the Netherlands – the world’s second-largest  exporter of agricultural products – is set to lose 300 million  euro annually from canceled business with Russia, as it accounts  for roughly 10 percent of Dutch exports of vegetables, fruit, and  meat.   

 At the same time, Poland was hit hard by the Kremlin’s sanctions,  as its food exports to Russia totaled $1.5 billion in 2013.   

 Spain, a large exporter of oranges to Russia, is estimated to  miss out on 337 million euro ($421 million) in food and  agriculture sales, while Italy has estimated its losses at nearly  1 billion euro ($1.2 billion).   

 Following pressure from local farmers, a 125 million euro EU  Commission Common Agricultural Policy fund was established, from  which the growers are expected to get some cash, while Amsterdam  is willing to cover the cost of transporting excess produce to  eight food banks across Holland.   

 Overall, Moscow’s one-year food embargo against the EU, the US,  Norway, Australia, and Canada will block an estimated $9 billion  worth of agricultural exports to Russia.
With European countries now at a   loss with apple and dairy surplus, it is not exactly clear  whether EU producers will be able to return to the Russian  markets after the one-year ban expires.
However, this is no secret to the US, as Assistant Secretary of  State Victoria Nuland   remarked on Thursday.
Implementing sanctions isn’t easy and many countries are  paying a steep price. We know that. But history shows that the  cost of inaction and disunity in the face of a determined  aggressor will be higher,” Nuland said.
Nuland’s reference to necessary action against the   “aggressor” might be taken with a grain of salt by the  Europeans, as the “F**k the EU” leak is still fresh in  their memory. The four-minute video – titled ‘Maidan puppets,’ referring to  Independence Square in Ukraine’s capital – was uploaded by an  anonymous user to YouTube.
Nuland was recorded as saying the notoriously known phrase during  a phone call with US Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt, as the  two were seemingly discussing a US-preferred line-up of the  Ukrainian government. It apparently referred to Washington’s  policy differences with those of the EU on ways of handling the  Ukrainian political crisis, with Nuland suggesting to “glue  this thing” with the help of the UN and ignore Brussels. The US State Department did not deny the authenticity of the  video and stressed that Nuland had apologized for the   “reported comments.”

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