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Poland Says Russian Produce Ban Is Payback for Sanctions

Warsaw says Russia’s ban on most fruit and vegetable imports from Poland has nothing to do with food safety, as Moscow contends, but is political retaliation for new, tough Western sanctions on Russia, particularly its lucrative oil sector.

Alexei Alekseenko, a spokesman for Russia’s Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance Service, issued a statement on July 30, a day after the new sanctions were announced, saying Russia will limit imports of Polish fruit, citing “the violation of certification and the identification of quarantine products.”

The EU expressed surprise at Moscow’s move and said it was studying the details of the ban. Russia is the EU’s biggest customer of produce, buying more than 2 billion euros worth fruit and vegetables each year from the bloc. Previously, it has been accused of using food safety as a pretext to limit trade from countries with which it has political disputes.

As soon as Moscow announced the ban, Poland’s Agriculture Ministry responded with a statement saying, “The embargo amounts to political repression in response to the sanctions imposed by the European Union against Russia.”

Poland exports more apples than any other country in the world. The Agriculture Ministry in Warsaw said that last year it exported 438 million euros’ worth of apples, 56 percent of them going to Russia. Because of the ban, Witold Boguta of Poland’s Association of Fruit and Vegetable Producers told Reuters, “I’m expecting the Polish apple producers to suffer.”

At the same time, Moscow says it is considering wider import bans, including poultry from the United States, fruit from other European countries and is even investigating the safety of cheese used on McDonald’s sandwiches sold in Russia. And one Russian legislator is drafting a bill that would prevent U.S. accounting firms from operating in Russia.

Related Article: West Faces Jeopardy From New Sanctions Targeting Russian Oil Industry

A U.S. poultry ban could be significant. The USA Poultry & Egg Export Council reports that last year Russia was the second-largest market, after Mexico, for U.S. chicken, including $309 million worth of small fowl called broiler chickens.

“This is not a surprise,” Mike Cockrell, chief financial officer at Sanderson Farms Inc. (SAFM) of Laurel, Miss., told Bloomberg News. “It’s not unusual for Russia to find something wrong when they have a political reason to do so.”

The new sanctions by the EU and the United States sharply restrict the sales of equipment for Russia’s oil and defense industries and impose strict limits on state-controlled banks’ access to Western capital. The actions are the West’s effort to punish Russia for annexing Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula and to persuade Moscow to end its support of pro-Russian Ukrainian rebels.


Sanctions imposed earlier this year were increased after a Malaysian jetliner was shot down July 17 over a region of eastern Ukraine controlled by the rebels, killing all 298 people aboard. The EU and the United States say what brought down the plane was a sophisticated surface-to-air missile provided by Russia.

By Andy Tully of Oilprice.com

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  • Andrey Palyura on August 05 2014 said:
    In long term Europe would suffer from own sanctions more. Fur Russia it is a short-term problem. Russia starts to develop own science and technology for oil@gas industry. Russia saves oil for future generations. Moreover Russia has Crimea now and can produce own apples. Europe will loose stream of natural resources as well as Russian market for own products and technology. Moreover Russian symbol is two-headed eagle, one head is looking for Asia. I am sure nobody is interested in confrontation.
    On the other side, relatives of MH017 should go to court and sue with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). These officials did not close air for international flights in the region where every day military jets and transport planes were destroyed. The couple of days before military transport was destroyed at hight more than 6000 m. Why ICAO decided that it is safe for 10 000 m? ICAO is not now reputable organisation at all and irresponsible completely for the passengers.
    Best wishes,
    From Crimea.
    (The region where nobody was killed at all! But ICAO closed air!? The region with peace and friendly society, we were not annexed by Russia, we freely voted . It is democracy to choose how to live. EU and USA punish criemans for our choice: block banks, ports, airports, visas, import-export. But it would have controversial results, we will survive. Moreover it is punishment for people for choise not politicians.)
  • Arkadiy on August 02 2014 said:
    Dear Andy,

    You write in yr article: "Sanctions imposed earlier this year were increased after a Malaysian jetliner was shot down July 17 over a region of eastern Ukraine controlled by the rebels, killing all 298 people aboard. The EU and the United States say what brought down the plane was a sophisticated surface-to-air missile provided by Russia".

    I kindly ask you to write if you have in yr hands the results of the international investigations of the
    MH017 accident! May be CIA has given to you the REAL proofs at last! You say : "The EU and U.S. SAY what...". Look, here in Moscow people say the World Trade Center was destroyed by Americans, not Al Qaida people! So it looks the proof for me: as people say! (if you see what did it happen to Ben Laden, Afghanistan and U.S. you would understand who was the reall beneficiary of 9/11!)

    I think it would be better if you use not speculations
    but facts!

    And facts are: if U.S. did not support the military coup in Kiev :1) Viktor Yanukovich would be displaced in 2015 as it was agreed and signed by Yanukovich, Yatsenjuk, Klichko in February..., 2) Russia would give to Ukraine 18 bl USD loan, 3) Russia still would supply the gas to Ukraine for the price 285 USD/ 1000 m3, 4) Crimea would be still Ukrainian territory, 5) NOBODY in Donetsk and Luhansk woted for the independence from Kiev, 6) NOBODY(THOUSANDS!!!) would be killed in Ukraine, 6) MH017 would not be shooted down.
    So it seems to me Washington did needed to destabilize this part of the World just to separate Europe from Russid and weaken it!
    And now Poland peasants suffer from the bun on import of the apples to Russia. For sure they must apply to Victoria Nooland and John Kerry to get the compensation! Victoria Nooland would bring them pies to reassure them... Like she did it on Maidan in Kiev on February...

    Best rgrds from Moscow!
    P.S. You know, Moscow is goin to bun the import of chicken from U.S. as well... It's bad, I love U.S. chicken! And Poland apples as well!

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