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Russia threatens UK’s cod and haddock supply as Putin pulls out of decades-old fishing deal

Moscow says deal has been struck after UK imposes more sanctions on Russia

Maryam Zakir-Hussain
Thursday 22 February 2024 14:37 GMT
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Russia is pulling out from a landmark fishing deal struck with Britain in 1956 as a response to further sanctions imposed by the UK.

The deal allowed British vessels into the rich fishing grounds of the Barents Sea, the coast of the Kola Peninsula and along the coast of Kolguyev Island.

The agreement was made in London by Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev in May 1956 at a turning point in the Cold War.

In the same year, he denounced Joseph Stalin, proposed peaceful coexistence with the West and even visited Britain in April.

Russia is pulling out from a fishing deal struck with Britain in 1956 that allows British boats to fish in the Barents Sea (Getty)

Vyacheslav Volodin, speaker of the State Duma lower house of parliament, said in a statement: “When Nikita Khrushchev accepted this deal in 1956, it is difficult to say what guided him but it was definitely not national interest.

“The British need to study some proverbs: ‘Russians harness the horse slowly, but ride it fast.’”

It comes as Britain on Wednesday imposed sanctions on six individuals in charge of the Arctic penal colony where Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny died last week.

Since the invasion began, Britain has repeatedly placed sanctions on Russia with increasing severity. The sanctions were declared as economic war by the State Duma, despite the country’s economy growing by 3.6 per cent last year.

Vyacheslav Volodin announced the decision to withdraw the 1956 fishing deal with the UK (AP)

“When people ask if we can respond to sanctions, the answer is: we can,” Mr Volodin said, adding that British vessels caught thousands of tonnes of cod and haddock in Russian waters.

The close Putin ally repeated the current orthodoxy of the Kremlin which views the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union as a tragedy and Mikhail Gorbachev as a failure who was tricked by a deceitful West intent on humiliating Russia.

“With Gorbachev, we lost our country, and with Putin we got it back,” he said.

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