MOSCOW -- Russian President Vladimir Putin prolonged an embargo June 29 by decree, hindering Ukraine's ability to export to Central Asia and highlighting the Kremlin's continuing attempts to control economic developments and trade in the region, EurasiaNet reported.
Putin's decree keeps the embargo going through January 1, 2019. It would have expired June 30 otherwise.
The original ban took effect January 1, 2016, in retaliation for Ukraine joining a European Union-run free trade zone. It imposed considerable logistical and bureaucratic restrictions on Ukrainian exporters attempting to ship merchandise and produce to Central Asia.
Ukraine filed a complaint with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in 2016 over the matter and has sought alternative routes to Central Asia, including through the Caucasus. However, shipping through Russia allowed goods to reach Central Asia without repeated loading and unloading.
The WTO complaint has not yet led to any results.