Russian cows
Russia has announced a ban on offal and animal fats from the European UnionReuters

Russia's veterinary watchdog has announced a ban on the import of animal fats and offal from the European Union, according to AFP news agency.

The ban will come into effect on 21 October and follows a similar ban passed on fresh food imports from Europe that came into effect in August.

Russian authorities say the ban is the result of the detection of harmful substances in some meat products imported from the EU, although analysts argue there is a political motivation behind the ruling.

Russia has previously banned a range of fresh foodstuffs from countries that have imposed economic sanctions on Moscow, including the US, EU, Canada and Australia.

Western countries initiated a campaign of economic sanctions against Russia in the wake of its annexation of Crimea in March. The allies say Russia has fuelled the conflict in eastern Ukraine, where a shaky ceasefire has held for a number of weeks.

Russia has denied supporting pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine.