Dairy products had accounted for the bulk of New Zealand’s exports to Russia.
The OECD reported that in 2019, New Zealand’s total exports to Russia were worth $211m, of which $114m was accounted for by butter and $16m by milk powder.
Fonterra’s director of global stakeholder affairs, Simon Tucker, said food, including dairy products, were generally exempt from international sanctions.
But Fonterra had suspended shipments of product to Russia “while we continue to monitor developments”, he said.
He described Fonterra’s exports to Russia as small, saying they accounted for less than 1 per cent of Fonterra’s total exports.
The company has seven staff based in Moscow and another 35 at its Unifood joint venture in St Petersburg.
Tucker said both entities were continuing to operate.
“However, we are keeping an eye on the situation and will take actions as required. The businesses do not supply sanctioned individuals or entities, including Russian military or security forces,” he said.
The safety of its people in Russia was Fonterra’s top priority, he said.