Ukraine bans Russian cargo trucks in tit-for-tat move

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko gestures during a news conference in Kiev, Ukraine, January 14, 2016. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

KIEV (Reuters) - Ukraine has banned Russian trucks from crossing its territory in response to a similar move by Moscow, Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk said on Monday.

Diplomatic and trade ties between Russia and Ukraine have broken down over Russia’s annexation of the Crimean Peninsula and a pro-Russian separatist conflict, a dispute that has now hit road freight.

“Ukraine has temporarily suspended ... transit permits for cargo vehicles with Russian registrations until it receives an explanation and resolution of this dispute,” Yatseniuk said in a statement.

On Sunday, the Russian transport ministry barred Ukrainian trucks because Ukrainian activists had been blocking some Russian trucks from entering Ukraine.

“Unfortunately the Ukrainian government is incapable of restoring order. The fact that some thugs are holding up trucks with firearms, means that there are no authorities in Ukraine,” Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said.

The ban does not apply to Ukrainian cargo trucks traveling to Kazakhstan via Russia, said Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich.

Reporting by Alessandra Prentice and Darya Korsunskaya; Editing by Matthias Williams and Robin Pomeroy