Russia had planned to lift restrictions on imports of pigmeat products, meal, fat, lard and ware potatoes for France, Hungary, Italy, Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands and had begun planning inspections for meat product companies in the countries.

However the head of Russia's food safety body, Rosselkhoznadzor, Sergei Dankvert said they are pausing now to consider whether to do that or not. He said they were "trying to find a way out of the situation to create the opportunity for a return of European pork to the Russian market”, adding that if the EU “finds that path to be unacceptable, we will not take the initiative”.

The EU Commission has denied any progress in bilateral talks between the Commission and Russian authorities on the food import embargo. A spokesperson for SANTE said that “no contacts have been made between the EU and Russian authorities” and reiterated that EU member states “must speak with one voice and act in solidarity when it comes to these trade relations”.

Last week, EU Foreign Ministers agreed to extend existing sanctions against Russia until September, as fighting continues in parts of Ukraine.