Finland warned last week that Russian retaliation against EU sanctions could push its economy into crisis, while President Vladimir Putin ordered curbs on food imports from countries that join the Western action over Ukraine.
The central bank warned that import restrictions could push up food prices and general inflation, but Putin said the list of banned imports should not hurt Russian consumers – who are fond of U.S. chicken pieces known as “George Bush’s leg”.
Nevertheless, the prospect of tit-for-tat economic restrictions has raised concern among smaller European Union nations which have close trading ties to Russia. Finland, which shares a long border with Russia, and sends a large proportion of its exports there, said it feared a repeat of the turmoil suffered by most Western economies in 2008-09.
Today, Russia is Finland’s third largest export market, while Russian tourists spend roughly 2 billion euros ($2.7 billion)(1.59 billion British pound) a year in Finland.