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Russia’s milk production was up 1.6% to 15.5m tonnes in the first 6mths of 2018, according to Rosstat data. On commercial farms volumes were up 4% to 8.2m tonnes. Total cattle numbers were down 0.1% to 19.7m head on July 1, with cows down 0.6% to 8.3m head.
Israel’s Agriculture Ministry are promoting a major dairy development project in Russia which involves a Russian wealth fund which has been sanctioned by the US and the EU. Russian Direct Investment Fund, which manages $10bn, was put under sanctions in 2014 by then president Barack Obama after Russia invaded Ukraine. Its steering committee includes some of the most powerful people in Russia, including central bank governor Elvira Nabiullina and Finance Minister Anton Siluanov. The fund more recently attracted attention after it was revealed that Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater private security group and campaign adviser to US President Donald Trump, met with RDIF’s chief, Kirill Dmitriev, just before Trump’s January 2017 inauguration. The meeting with Dmitriev is being examined by US special counsel Robert Mueller.