Belgrade - Slovenian exports to Ukraine and Russia were projected to fall by 200 million euros (R2.8 billion) because of the Ukrainian crisis, and that figure may grow if the conflict escalates, an official said Thursday.

Slovenian exports to Ukraine already dropped by 13 per cent in the first five months of 2014, compared to the corresponding period in 2013.

Exports to Russia, meanwhile, fell by 20 per cent.

“I fear the decline may accelerate in case of a further escalation and additional EU sanctions,” an official said.

Ukraine has focused spending on the military and its currency has weakened, leaving limited resources for regular imports, he said.

In Russia - which last month banned food imports from the European Union, the United States, Norway and Australia in retaliation for sanctions over Ukraine - buyers are showing a new, cautious approach.

“The Russians were not like that. They have obviously been affected and now they choose carefully what and when they buy,” the official said.

In 2013, the Slovenian trade surplus with Ukraine was 232 million euros and with Russia about 1 billion euros.

Slovenia mainly exports finished products such as appliances, auto and industrial parts and medicines. - Sapa-dpa